More than six months since the defeat of General Idi Amin, the new Ugandan government is still fighting for stability.
More than six months since the defeat of General Idi Amin, the new Ugandan government is still fighting for stability. Food is in short supply and because of the scarcity of food there is a flourishing black market. A tube of toothpaste sells for 50 Ugandan shillings (about seven U.S. dollars) and a loaf of bread costs 40 shillings (about five U.S. dollars). The government also faces the problem of feeding thousands of refuges who returned from neighbouring Kenya after the fall of General Amin. In addition, there are more than two thousand homeless children living on the streets of the capital, Kampala.
SYNOPSIS: Many of the homeless throng the open markets of the city, hawking black market cigarettes and matches. The smaller boys pick pockets, or engage in petty theft.
Social workers estimate that many of the children earn about fifty shillings (about seven U.S. dollars) a day. But with prices still rocketing, every day they need more to survive. They are perpetually short of money and live a hand-to-mouth existence, with no family or social security to fall back on.
But, now a UGAndan member of parliament has started an orphanage to give the children a home. At present, 35 children are housed in a sports club that was formerly used by General Amin's troops. Blankets -- donated by welfare organisations -- help make up for the lack of beds, chars and tales in the orphanage.
The member of Parliament who runs the orphanage is the Reverend Kefa Sempangi -- who is regarded as more of a social worker than a politician. In 1973, the Reverend Sempangi was in charge of another orphanage in Kampala, but he was forced to flee the country when friends told him he was about to be arrested on the orders of General Amin. On his return, he immediately resumed his work. He describes his charges as 'street-wise' and 'survivors'. But he says that most of them are ready to reform.