Foreign students seek assistance

KAMPALA- As many Ugandans continue to ask government to speed up distribution of free food during the lockdown, international students also want their administrators to rescue them with relief food.

Following the closure of all institutions of learning by President Museveni on March 18 as one of the measures to minimise the spread of the virus, thousands of international students were not able to go back to their respective countries.

The president of Makerere University International Students Association, Mr Allan Musano, on Monday told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview that more than 100 students have approached him for food since they have run out of money.

“Students most especially those residing in private hostels in Kikoni are starving because they run out of money and have not received any financial support from their parents back home,” Mr Musano said.

Similarly, the President of South Sudanese students at Clerk International University, Mr Jacobs Pitia, said more than 80 students have been camping at his residence since they cannot feed themselves.

He said their parents in South Sudan are not working since their businesses have been affected by the lockdown.

“The government of Uganda should help and feed international students who are stuck in hostels. We have seen Uganda’s students in other foreign countries being helped, so Uganda’s government should also do the same,” Mr Pitia said.

“Whereas some of our students residing in areas where the government is distributing food have got relief, majority of them have not received any food, they are suffering in their rooms and something should be done,” he added.

He explained that they cannot run to embassies since they do not have means of transport to go there, while some embassies are not working.

The situation is not different at Kampala International University (KIU).

The guild speaker of KIU, Mr Ezra Kanga, said students especially from Nigeria, Somalia and Rwanda are starving and are not able to pay their utilities like electricity and water.

“We have asked the university administration to intervene and provide some food to these students but they have not yet given us any feedback,” Mr Kanga said.

He also said the university has resorted to online learning, yet majority of these international students are facing a challenge of buying data.

Some university managers have swung into action to help their international students who are stuck witssskh some relief.

Makerere University’s top management, for instance, has resolved to give a relief package to all its international students in hostels and in Livingstone and Africa Halls of residence for the remaining two weeks of lockdown.

According to the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, each international student will receive Shs63,000 for feeding.

The university’s communication manager, Mr Muhammad Kiggudu, said some students were given rooms within the university halls of residence, while others remained in their hostels.

He said the university decided to give them some money as they monitor the lockdown.

The communication manager at Kyambogo University, Mr Rubean Tuinomugisha, said whereas the university has international students, they do not know where they are since no one has approached the university for assistence.