Africa-Press – Uganda. In the series Shattered Dreams, the Daily Monitor is running stories about children whose education ended abruptly when the lockdown, due to Covid-19, was affected.
In March 2020, all those who were studying found their education halted by the restrictions set up to keep the virus at bay. But while many progressively found their way back to the classroom, others haven’t and are watching their dreams of getting an education and improving their lives and of those around them, fade.
The fear, desperation, anguish and sadness can be felt as one reads the students’ stories and experiences.
My Covid story:
All I needed was half a chance at survival, and I took it
In the series that began on June 14, students and their parents talk about the blows Covid-19 has dealt them. Some lost their parents due to alcoholism and depression because they could not cope.
For others, their guardians lost their jobs and have not been able to get another to pay them enough to cater for school fees. And for others, their businesses took a hit from which they have failed to recover. As had been reported severally across different media, teenage pregnancies have affected many girls.
A number of them have failed to report to school because they got pregnant and have to stay home to take care of their children, or because their parents have abandoned them in frustration and anger.
The government should have seen this coming. The lockdown affected so many people and there were always going to be such repercussions. The question is, what did the government planned to do to reduce the impact of this? Was an Impact Assessment done by the ministry of Education? Is the ministry currently aware of how many children have failed to go back to school? Have they collected data from various schools to find out how big the problem is? Do they know which sections – primary or secondary – have been most affected? It is important that these questions are answered because a country’s development is determined to a large extent by how many of its people receive an education.
For most of the students so far, kind individuals have expressed a willingness to support them and have got in touch. We cannot thank them enough. However, the students whose stories will run are a mere fraction of those who are still looking for ways to get money to go back to school.
Let the government find a smart and proper way to join hands with organisations, companies, and willing individuals to support these children. Let us not have a forgotten generation who deserve to be helped.