what type of children, why and how do you identify them?
Suubi child is a child that have difficulties to stay at school or who have not been able to start school or even who dropped out of school.
We are considering children that cannot even afford to attend government schools which are the cheapest in Uganda. We are considering a child from the age of 4years, and the limit is not clear because the children in most cases do not attend school corresponding with their age due to a lot of social and economic challenges.
The outbreak of covid19 has left a lot of girls and boys out of school, schools were closed since March 2020 many children have not been able to go back to school, a lot of girls have ended up pregnant, and others with no hope of continuing with school because their parents have lost their jobs.
Covid-19 has united the world in an incredibly unique way. While it is true that everyone has struggled with the fallout of this global pandemic, it has had more serious consequences on some of the most vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, adolescent girls have been among the most adversely affected and for some, life has become downright dangerous. Many girls and boys are left vulnerable to teenage pregnancy, early childhood marriage and gender-based violence, among other devastating effects of Covid-19. Stichting suubi have recognized the need to engage with younger girls and boys especially the adolescent that have dropped out of school.
In Uganda, as with many other countries around the world, Covid-19 has resulted in an increased rate of teenage pregnancy. In order to gain necessities like sanitary towels, girls have engaged in transactional sex with men who take advantage of their need for money.
According to the police report in Mukono and Buikwe District where stichting suubi operates there have been 2530 cases of teenage pregnancies reported since the outbreak of COVID-19. many girls are left without a partner because they fear being imprisoned this leaves the teenage mothers becoming single parents! Incidence of early-childhood marriage is also on the rise as poverty caused by the pandemic has forced families to marry off their daughters to help alleviate financial burdens.
In addition to early marriage, many girls are facing workforce at a young age to help provide for their families. In some communities, girls are also forced to take on much of the domestic work at home, keeping them away from seeing their friends and joining community-building activities. When schools reopen, many of these girls will not go back because their mind would have changed.
We have done a community -based survey in the communities. We waited until the government opened schools; this has helped us identify children that have not been able to continue with school. Our coordinators drove through the communities identifying poor families and children who are home, they did not tell them why they are surveying instead they made it a community survey with no financial support intentions this helped us to get the real beneficiaries. We have found several children willing and wanting to continue with their if given a chance l. We consider giving chances to both girls and boys from families which cannot afford government school fees.
The articles below were published during the lockdown 2020, by Uganda’s top media houses about the effects from COVID-19 on school going children. In their case studies are in some districts of the country, but it is the picture in the rest of districts including Buikwe and Mukono where we operate . I share them for more information reference.