Like most of the world, schools in Uganda have been impacted by Covid-19. Ugandan schools have not been fully open since March 2020 (although international schools are now happening online and will probably soon be reopening on campus in some form). Those taking exams this school year returned in October, but many children who really need school are still not allowed to attend. This has caused a rise in abuse, child labour, pregnancies and marriage among school age girls. Child sacrifice has increased as well. Going to school helps protect children from many of these things. Pray that schools will fully reopen, that parents will be able to pay school fees despite the increased economic hardships, and also that teachers will return. Many teachers have had to find other work during the closures. Returning to teaching in this climate might not be too appealing.
Vast numbers of refugees in Uganda have also been significantly affected by Covid-19. According to the UNHCR, Uganda is the 3rd largest refugee hosting country in the world, with more than 1.2 million refugees as of February 2019. In October, the Guardian reported that of these numbers, more than 500,000 were experiencing severe food shortages as a result of cuts to food aid and restrictions needed to curb the spread of Covid-19. More aid cuts are expected, with unrest inevitable as desperate people compete for food.
We’re thankful though that churches have been allowed to reopen, although with many restrictions. Many churches tried to accommodate the restrictions in different ways, moving online or meeting in smaller groups. They have also used the opportunity as a reminder that the Church is not the building but the people. It’s no secret that Africa is communal, so being able to come together in groups is really helpful.