More than 170 children have been rescued from the streets of Kampala and taken for quarantine and rehabilitation. This is part of an initiative by Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA and Non-Government Organisations that work with children on the streets.
The children have been settled at Nakivubo Blue Primary School where they are being tested for COVID-19 before being taken to rehabilitation centres. Those who will be found positive with the virus will be quarantined at the School while those with negative results will be taken to Kaazi Rehabilitation centre along Entebbe Road.
Eunice Tumwebaze, the Manager for Children and Youths at KCCA says that the children were surviving on petty jobs and are now struggling under the current lockdown. Tumwebaze says that so far there are 170 children at Nakivubo Blue but more are still on the streets and KCCA hopes to rescue them with the availability of resources.
Allan Kasujja, one of the children who were rescued from the streets says that he was working with a man selling onions on a truck. His employer, however, dismissed him when the lockdown was instituted. But the 12-year-old, who had left his grandmother’s home in Entebbe says he resorted to sleeping at Kafumbe Mukasa Road where he was picked by the KCCA team and brought to the centre.
Another child identified as Brighton Omosole from Sheema says she has lived on the streets for close to two years. Omosole says he came to Kampala to flee from torture meted on him by his parents. He says that while in Kampala, he worked at a Chapati stall in Namayiba where he was earning 3000 Shillings a day, before the lockdown.
During the March 2020 lockdown, KCCA conducted a similar exercise rescuing over 85 children who were tested, quarantined and later taken to children’s homes for rehabilitation. However, some of the children came back to the streets.
Maureen Muwonge, the Director of Operations at Dwelling Places says the children come to homes with different vices that the social workers seek to help them get rid of. She says some engage in fights, use abusive and vulgar language while others even abuse drugs. Muwonge says that some children fail to cope with the new environment in their homes and end up returning to the streets. However, like a home, they give children two more chances to come back to the homes.