Each year, we produce an annual report for the charity commission. With Covid being such a dominant factor in the life of Adonai Family Uganda from 2020 to 2022, we compiled the 2 reports from that period to produce a record of events. Read on!
Covid Report April 2020 – April 2021
We ended the 2019 – 2020 annual report by mentioning the Covid pandemic; Covid reached Uganda in March 2020. Travel restrictions and a ban on social gatherings was instigated on March 18th. During the next couple of weeks, restrictions were tightened including the closing of schools and the imposition of a dusk to dawn curfew. The Adonai Schools and Children’s Homes were closed and ‘temporary homes’ were found for the residents of the latter with trusted families…. no-one realised at this stage just how long these temporary measures would stay in place.
Lockdown restrictions were gradually eased from May 5th, but schools remained closed. The struggle to feed all the children and their temporary hosts was taking a huge toll on the Adonai Family Uganda team – emotionally, physically, and financially. We launched an appeal and funds rolled in from our supporters giving a much-needed boost to Aloysious and his team. Knowing that so many were thinking of them and going out of way to help despite our own lockdown struggles in the UK, made a world of difference.
As well as supporting the Adonai families, Aloysious joined the local Covid response team which involved being on call and driving sick people to hospital… he was very tired but the benefit of being able to use his vehicle to deliver supplies was immeasurable. He and the Adonai Family members still on site (basically camping down in his and Abbi’s home) used lockdown to establish new vegetable gardens and these proved invaluable when a second lockdown followed hot on the heels of the first. They also used the time to pave large areas of the school compound which otherwise turned to mud in the rain. Abbi produced home schooling materials which were distributed as far as funds and practicalities would allow. They all worked tirelessly.
Candidate classes returned to school in October 2020, 7 months after closing, but only after a £6k spend to pass an inspection on the new stringent Covid-safe operating procedures. Adonai UK was pleased to foot that bill.
Whilst impossible to have the usual Christmas party, we were determined that we would do something special. Our amazing sponsors and supporters dug deep again, and we were able to fund a gift for each sponsored child chosen by the AFU team according to individual need. Most were clothes or warm blankets. Those who could, made their way to the Adonai Centre to collect their gifts whilst others were delivered by the team. We were also able to fund the Christmas bull so many families had a treat of fresh beef and sacks of rice which again were either collected or delivered. What a privilege to share some Christmas cheer in this way and how wonderful our supporters are, especially given the lockdown Christmas that we endured here too.
A presidential election in January 2021 led to more challenges with violent protests and fears of food shortages. Aloysious and Abbi found themselves caught up in the protests on a routine trip to Kampala and feared for their lives. Thankfully, they both made it home safely and life returned to normal once the election was over.
A national phased return to school was instigated in January 2021. By June, all the Junior children had returned to Adonai and children were back in the safety of the residential homes. However, not all returned. Due to the long absence and the difficulties faced by the AFU team in keeping a pastoral eye on them all, lives changed for ever for some of our sponsored children. Some of the girls became parents themselves, some youngsters entered the world of work prematurely without the enhanced prospects that a good education would bring, some simply didn’t return.
The infants were looking forward to their imminent return but then…. disaster struck. A deadly 3rd wave of Covid struck Africa and a second very stringent lockdown was instigated in Uganda. The school and children’s homes were closed again. This time, no travel was allowed between districts so all the bounty from the farmland at Mubende was out of reach. Food and medication prices rocketed, the microscope at the medical centre broke, a landslip occurred on the site of the Give Her a Chance home.
Aloysious tried to persuade the authorities that the children would be safer in their bubbles in the homes than dispersed in the community, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. The reason given for the main homes being closed was that they were on the same site as the school (which was closed!). For the ‘Give Her A Chance’ home, which is on a different site, the reason given was lack of a clean water supply. This is being addressed. Plans have been drawn up and approved for a deep water well and a supply system similar to that on the main site. It will not only serve the Girl’s home but also a local secondary school and the local community. The Rotary Club of Rubaga agreed to finance two thirds of the project if Adonai came up with the balance of £9700. We were able to fund this partly thanks to a valiant supporter who ran his first-ever marathon to raise funds for it. At the time of writing, the funds are all in place, but the work has been unable to start due to the lockdown. (The work has since been completed.)
We launched another appeal when we learnt how desperate AFU were for funds and once again the Adonai UK supporters came up trumps. Having already sent £21k since the first lockdown was announced, we sent another £9k. A zoom call with Aloysious and Abbi enabled us to realise the full extent of the problem and also for some combined lateral thinking. We learnt that although private vehicles could not travel between districts (in fact, they could not be used at all), a truck would be allowed to gather crops from the Mubende farm and deliver them to Adonai for distribution. This was funded and actioned. Once again, Aloysious was given permission to use his vehicle – this time for medical centre purposes – and this facilitated much of the deliveries to families in need.
Aloysious and team not only delivered food and medical supplies, but also basic PPE and hygiene kits (plastic bowls and soap) with instruction on the importance of regular and thorough handwashing to aid the fight against Covid and indeed all diseases. They taught and encouraged the community to follow social distancing procedures and stressed the importance of self-isolation when symptoms developed. None of this was straightforward in a culture that depends on community and where much of life is lived outside. Homes do not necessarily have space for isolating. However, with hospitals at capacity, oxygen in very short supply, and very few vaccines available prevention was essential. Their strategy seemed to be pay off: whilst some local residents lost their lives to Covid, no-one under the Adonai umbrella died despite testing positive and being very poorly.
April 2021- April 2022
Lockdown life was the norm for the remainder of 2021. Adonai UK continued to fund the ongoing feeding programme and respond to urgent needs if we could. The Adonai gardens had a good harvest but by October all the food had been harvested and distributed. We sent funds for replanting and for staple food supplies e.g. sacks of rice, to feed people up until Christmas. The Safe Water Project at Buddo hit some snags – a combination of lockdown, the sudden death of one of the construction engineers, and the protocols to be implemented via the partnership with the Rotary Club. We are awaiting a further update. Funds were also sent for the provision of basic PPE to the community – soap, bowls etc. and to clean up the children’s homes and classrooms in preparation for the expected reopening of schools in January 2022.
A piggery project which helped local people to be self-sufficient was stopped during this period as swine fever spread through the country. Adonai UK was not directly involved with this project was but was saddened to hear of its demise.
In December 2021, it was announced by the Ugandan Government that schools would indeed reopen in January. In anticipation of this, and to address concerns that many children would not return to education, Aloysious and team made plans for a motivational camp to be held before Christmas. The education authority granted permission with certain stipulations, we sent funds, and a very successful camp was held from December 8th – 10th. Numbers were restricted to 85 including staff so some tough decisions needed to be made but all the children invited benefitted greatly and all made the decision to return to full-time education once schools reopened. The camp included talks from 3 motivational speakers, including a former Adonai pupil; nourishing meals; counselling; and lots of fun.
Adonai UK had once again run a Christmas appeal and with no party allowed once again due to lockdown restrictions, the camp gave the perfect opportunity to distribute the gifts funded by sponsors. It also provided an opportunity for sponsored children to write to their sponsors but unfortunately the letters, posted in the main post office in Kampala, never arrived. The member of staff who took them contracted Covid on the trip to town so all in all, the letter writing was not a successful venture.
As usual, we sent funds for Christmas meat and rice which was distributed to those in need in the community.
Ugandan schools finally reopened in January 2022 and we are delighted to report that after a slow start, most of our sponsored children did eventually return. We received class lists in March and Christine has been dutifully informing sponsors of their children’s progress. Letters from the sponsored children were written in the lead up to Easter and arrived safely in the UK.
We hope that our next annual report will reflect a more normal year – time will tell!