RAKAI — Uganda has been under a strict COVID-19 lockdown for the last six months to limit the spread of the pandemic, but a Ugandan volunteer defies the hardship to serve the children in the border district.
Fred Ssemmanda, in the Southern Ugandan district of Rakai, who heads a local community organization, Denise Foundation, rides a bike to supervise over 100 children under his care.
His organization supports orphaned children in Rakai, a district that was devastatingly decimated by the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Uganda and Africa.
In fact, almost half of the population in this region is under the age of 17. An entire generation is missing due to HIV and most of these children are orphans who lack basic needs including education, clean and safe water and health services.
Most girls lack sanitary towels while boys aren’t in school.
His organization supports orphaned and vulnerable children in Rakai district— enabling them to acquire quality education and improving health and welfare.
He told PML Daily by phone, that his organization operates on three key pillar principals including Education, Sustainability and Health.
“We support our children to achieve their dreams and future they desire,” he said by phone.
Denise Foundation, a charity he founded in memory of Ms. Denise Robertson who changed life has since provided to the orphans items like chicken projects, pigs, to support their families and now, in lockdown, some children are able to survive on these projects.
Three modern wells have been constructed in various parts of the region for safe clean water.
Fred whose organization is giving free meals to learners, has also constructed modern kitchens and toilets while girls now get sanitary towels.
Some children have been given bicycles to get to school.
PML Daily couldn’t independently supervise these projects since access to the border district is not be allowed by security due to coronavirus restrictions.
Fred, whose organization is registered both in Uganda and the United Kingdom hopes to build the Denise Foundation Complex to offer 1,000 children a school, health centre and orphanage.
He has a backing of UK-based Ms. Lisa Seferi who is the international coordinator of the charity.
In Rakai, most orphans drink pond water while others dig all day in exchange for food – and sometimes school fees.
Today, the charity can only offer support to about 120 most vulnerable kids but Fred thinks these are very few children compared those that need urgent help.
“There is no access to quality education, no access to quality health services and people are more vulnerable to famine, absolute poverty,” he said.
Fred through his charity firm have since donated food to vulnerable people living in the locked district during the lockdown.
The donation included tonnes of maize flour, beans, and rice.
Others are cooking oils 75 boxes and meat.
Stringent measures employed to stop spread of the coronavirus in the border district means, hundreds of people are out of the jobs while some residents are uncertain about when the next meal will arrive when they run out.
The coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on lives of these children and Ssemmanda says demand for the charity’s services have surged due to the pandemic, meaning your help is needed now more than ever.