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15 June 2020 - Story

How Covid-19 is affecting me: Children speak out

Stephen takes part in the online dialogue

Throughout Uganda children’s lives are being affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and the "lockdown" measures taken to prevent its spread. We are seeing an increase in violence and abuse, poverty and harmful practices such as child labour.

Ahead of the Day of the African Child, we asked two children from Wakiso district in central Uganda – where Save the Children runs education, health and protection programmes – to take part in an online dialogue at our office with children from other African countries and talk about how they are impacted.

Here’s what they said:

Stephen*, 14 (above, taking part in the online dialogue)

We no longer learn

Ever since schools were closed, we stopped learning. The learning packages which the Government gave out were not enough. A child in my primary seven class tried to go to our school to get some learning materials but he found the teachers went to their villages and there was no one to help.

Children are getting involved in working for money

Some children have decided to join the stone quarry in my village in order to get money for their basic needs like food, vaseline and soap. Usually the children who go to the stone quarry never go back to school. They get used to earning money and some girls get pregnant and are afraid to go back.

Some girls are getting pregnant

A girl in primary five in a neighboring school got impregnated by a man in the stone quarry. When schools closed, her mother started sending her to sell samosas and cassava to the people in the stone quarry. Her mother realized recently that the girl is now pregnant. She asked her to abort but the girl refused. So the girl now moves around the village with the man who got her pregnant.

Sarah taking part in the online dialogue

Sarah*, 13 (above)

We no longer have enough food.

My parents can no longer afford to give me, my brothers and sisters two meals – as it used to be before Covid. My Mother was selling sweet potatoes in the market and my Dad was making pots for sale. They both worked quite far away from our village so they could no longer go to work when the government stopped public transport. We now have only one meal because the food we have is not enough. Just like our neighbours. We also take tea without sugar because we cannot afford it.

Some children are being attacked.

My friend, who goes to the same school as me, was raped on her way to the well. Ever since schools were closed, children are at home all the time, so some children in our village make themselves busy by going to the well so many times. Now my friend was raped by an unknown man. She is now living in another village and I don’t think she will ever go to back to school.

When children fall sick, parents cannot take them to hospital.

In our neighborhood, a child in primary three fell sick with coldness and fever but her parents could not take her to hospital. The hospital gives free medical care but is so far away and they could not walk there. The president stopped all public taxis from taking people. The mother had to borrow money to go to a nearby clinic but the person who lent them the money is demanding it.