Covid-19 impacts taking toll on Entebbe special needs children

For some reason, the plight of special need children like those at Entebbe Children Welfare Primary School rarely comes at the fore.

What you need to know:

The Entebbe Children’s Welfare Primary School was started in 1985 by Mrs. Felicity Kizito with two pupils. It now caters for up to 70 pupils including 33 girls and 37 boys. There are a total of nine teachers on government payroll and one special needs teacher who is paid by a Non-Governmental Organization, according to Christine Mugwanya, the headmistress.

Before Coronavirus reared its ugly head, life at the Entebbe Children’s Welfare Primary School was already tough.

For some reason, the plight of special need children like those at the school.

Most often than not, their situation tend to be the last to be attended to, surprisingly even by the State!

Special needs covers developmental delays, medical, psychiatric and congenital conditions that require accommodations so children can reach their potentials. It can also mean an umbrella term for a wide array of diagnoses, ranging from those that resolve quickly to those that will be a challenge for life.

Tough times

As they continue to grapple with survival, Covid-19 knocked on the door.

If feeding the children on regularly basis wasn’t easy before, let alone clothing them properly as they ought to, then you can imagine how difficult it is now with Covid-19 taking a toll on most aspect of life as we know it. 

To survive, the school, which caters for children with special needs, depends heavily on donations and good will of the good Samaritans.

But with Covid-19 pandemic, life at the needy school became much harder, with the future looking drearier than ever before.

Affording proper meals on regular basis is not only challenging but it happens by mercy of God.

Given the overriding priority placed in ensuring proper and regular feeding right now, it doesn’t mean that other things, such clothing, proper learning facilities and physical supporting equipment are not needed. Actually there is need for all kind of support towards the school.           

 At the moment the needy children wellbeing is being supported Mr Alain Goetz’s whose decision to continue feeding the children, and his promise to never give up on the young ones, especially during these economic hardships exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, remains a critical intervention for the schools’ operations to run smoothly.

Mr Goetz, the former chief executive officer of the African Gold Refinery, who now stays out of Uganda, says he intends to continue supporting the children with food and clothes.

 “I intend to carry on where I left off when I was still based in Uganda – to support the children. The children are our future generation. They need all the attention and the love they can get,” he said when contacted in an email.

 Five years ago, while still the CEO of AGR, Goetz ensured that part of the company’s annual corporate social responsibility budget went to supporting the school.

Since then, he remains committed to backing the school from wherever he is, on top of funding the construction of some of the institute’s buildings.

He calls upon companies to commit percentages of their budget towards causes such as this—supporting needy and welfare schools and Centres.

While commissioning a new two-storey building at the school built with Goetz’s aid in July 2019, that the First Lady and Minister of Education, Janet Kataha Museveni noted that no child deserved to be left behind, no matter their physical or mental status.