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At the time of writing of this newsletter the world is battling the Corona virus. That’s what we wrote in June 2020. And it is still the case. The reported numbers in Africa are lower than in the western countries. This also applies to Uganda. There are many reasons that could explain this: the average age of the population, limited testing, the fact that life is lived more outside, vitamin D from the sun, a different medical approach, the response of the governments.
However, this does not mean Africa suffers less from COVID, or the measures taken to suppress it. So was the impact on schooling disastrous. Uganda is amongst the countries with the longest shut down of schools worldwide. Schools in Uganda were closed a major part of 2020, and were gradually reopening when 2021 started. To make up for the lost time the school year was extended until mid 2021. But the schools closed down again mid-year.  and are still closed. Fortunately, it was recently announced that the schools will open again in January 2022. However, when schools reopen, not all children will return, some will have married early, become pregnant, or entered child labour. That’s the sad truth. See for instance: news link Aljazeera

The new lockdown in Uganda was announced in June, initially for 42 days. In August, when is became clear that the lockdown would last much longer, we decided to shift our approach. During the lockdown in 2020 kids did schoolwork that Kuot (our oldest student and project manager) picked up from the schools. They also followed school TV. But Kuot came up with something better: Why not get the teachers to the house, if the kids couldn’t go to school? And so we did. Kuot turned the Walk On house into a boarding school. He recruited 3 teachers for primary and 4 teachers for secondary school, had basic classroom build on a part of the compound where there was still space, and installed a few computers in another room. The kids love the opportunities they get this way. We pay the teachers and computers from the money we don’t need to use for school fees.
Our students in Adumani, in the north of Uganda, spent most of the past year in the refugee camps, since also up north the schools were closed most of the year. Some went to their relatives in South Sudan. Life in the camps is hard. Some main challenges in the camps are the availability of water, lack of paid work and insufficient food. We provide some money for them to buy food, as the government/UN rations are not enough. When the lockdown was suspended for a while most of the kids could go back to school, unfortunately for (part of) one term only.

In November students from the International School in Delft (ISD) raised money for Walk On by running laps in the park. ISD asked if we could give a presentation at the school assembly on Walk On. So Moana went to the school to tell the story of Walk On, and how the situation in Uganda is at the moment. Walk On is now a part of their service in action programme, aimed at helping communities in need.

2021 started with 63 children registered in our program: 2 in pre-school, 21 in primary school, 37 students in secondary school and 2 in university. One student, who graduated from secondary school last December 2019, is waiting to go to the next level once a sponsor is found. Of a few children we are not sure if they are still in the program. Once the schools reopen this will become clear.

In our update from December last year we asked your support for some 150 families from Anuol’s community in Bor, that had to evacuate because the river Nile had overflowed its banks. Some families had to move up to three times, also because of insecurity. Our call was not in vain. We managed to send Anuol around 6000 U$ to help his community. For the first $3000 maize flower, beans and oil were bought and provided to the flood victims. Part of the money was used for transport, loaders and accommodation for Kuot, who organised it all. The second $3000 was split between 200 families to buy wood and grass to make a shelter for their families.
The bad news is however, that Bor flooded again in October this year. This time the Walk On US Foundation was able to provide support. $7000 was generously donated to help the flood victims. Food and other relief items are in the process of being purchased and distributed to those in desperate need. 

Our 2020 project expenses have been around 30% lower than in 2019. Unfortunately this is not good news. It’s mainly because we spent much less on school fees and school material, exactly the things we would like to spend our money on… Although the expenses for 2021 are not exactly clear yet, they will be up from the numbers below, due to the fact that we started home schooling in Kampala.
Below a summary of the money spent by Walk On South Sudan in 2020, provided by Stichting Walk On Nederland, the Walk On US Foundation and Awatkeer, Anuol’s law firm in Juba.
We’re proud to say that all the money we raise (minus banking costs) goes to our project in Uganda. The boards, in the Netherlands and the US, pay for their own expenses, so does Anuol. We don’t spend money on fundraising, but use the word of mouth. So, please feel free to pass this e-mail on. Also, we would be very grateful if you could help getting some more people to invest in the future of the children of South Sudan.

Kuot, our oldest student and project manager, married in December 2020. At the time of writing of this newsletter Kuot is in South Sudan, visiting his family. His wife gave birth to their first child, a boy. His name is Thiek. Kuot returned to Kampala on the 26th of December, perfectly in time to support the kids when they will return to school next month. For the time being, his wife and son will stay in South Sudan with their family.

We would encourage you to forward this e-mail to your network. Anuol could use some additional support, and also Walk On would be happy to receive more sponsors. Apart from the fact that there still are many children with no access to proper schooling, also the kids that are in our program get more expensive when they grow older. On top of that we hope to support those that have the ability through university.
Anuol? Walk On? 
If this newsletter was forwarded to you, and you don’t know about Anuol, please read Anuol’s inspiring story: CLICK HERE. Want to know more about Walk.

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Stichting Walk on · Vondelstraat 42 · Amsterdam, Noord holland 1054GE · Netherlands

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