Humanitarian Relief Operation
The relief operation Do Not Abandon Them was launched on Friday, the 27/03/2020.
Since then, financial funds, medical items, and volunteer efforts have been continuously mobilized in order to meet the campaign goals in Uganda, Kenya, and other African countries. During the past six months, close to 115,000$ were distributed by the campaign partners as direct aid and medical supplies to various target communities and institutions. This report focuses mainly on the activities executed in Uganda.
By late February, Uganda and many other African countries started to witness the
economic impact of the COVID 19. After the shutdown of all Institutions, markets,
businesses, etc. there was a dramatic downfall in the income level of weak households. Predominantly, most of the poorer populations in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda are hand to mouth dwellers; they make a daily living from riding motorcycles, driving taxis, farming, and carrying cargo, to name few. The pandemic created a most challenging economic situation characterized by the collapse of trading systems and an extreme increase in severe poverty, hunger, and access to vital and life-saving health systems.
The overall goal of the operation was to aid children and communities living under
conditions of extreme scarcity and poverty and support local medical systems in East
- Distribute funds for basic food items and medical supplies and provide
essential medical care to children, mothers, and families living in extreme
poverty in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and other African countries.
- Provide support for the medical systems in the target countries, first and
foremost to the projects in which Israeli volunteers and organizations have
been involved for years – including the Israeli Medicine on the Equator project,
which operates in the Kiboga hospital in Uganda.
- Manage volunteers and local organizations in the various target areas,
primarily the staff of “Topaz Uganda”, “Tag Kenya,” and “Inspiration Uganda”.
- Raise support and funds from the Israeli, American, and global society in order
to achieve the operational goals.
- Recruit partners supporting all the aspects of the relief operation
Since the end of March 2020, all public and private transportation has been halted, and educational institutions, including kindergartens, schools, boarding schools, and academic institutions and much of the commercial and business infrastructure, were closed. To date, six months later, all institutions are still closed, and it is not yet clear when these educational settings will re-open. Distance learning and virtual classrooms do not exist in Uganda.
As a result of the local governments’ steps, a severe shortage of essential food and medical items among the already poverty-stricken population was created. Many families live now from day to day, from hand to mouth. Soon the children, who until recently were served nutritious meals at their educational institutions, are at risk of starvation. The public system cannot assist populations living in slums,suffering from extreme hunger.
The relief operation Do Not Abandon Them set up a variety of intervention strategies:
- Recruit and manage a large team of volunteers in Israel to organize and run the operation.
- Guide and supervise the local teams in Uganda and Kenya (employees and volunteers) to work systematically and professionally to help thousands of children, mothers, and families under their responsibility.
- Raise funds by using crowdfunding methods, as well as private and public supporters for the campaign.
- Raise donations and purchase medical supplies to ship them from Israel and China to Uganda (and later to Kenya and other African countries).
- Purchase and distribution of food under supervision to the target communities.
- Transfer money ($20 – 30 every or so) via mobile phone to families living in slums for essential food purposes.
The beneficiaries are children, women, and poor households living in the suburbs of
Kampala in Uganda, the Kiboga district in North West Uganda, and participants of
Topaz Uganda programs throughout the country. We reached out to the children and
families through our local partners and local projects. Some of these projects include
Mirembe women skills training, Nazareth Nursery School, and AFAAYO children
Due to the complex situation created after lockdown in Uganda, and with all public and private transportation halted, and suspension on buying large amounts of food, the local partners of Topaz , Brit Olam and Little Light developed different systems of operation to ensure food supply to poverty stricken children and their mothers.
- We formed a team of 6 local volunteers to aid distributing foods to the beneficiaries in their areas of residence.
- We bought various amounts of supplies from the closest markets distributed by the volunteers to our beneficiaries’ families.
- In Uganda, like in any other African country, it is common to use mobile phones to transfer small amounts of cash. We send small amounts of monies between 50,000-100,000 UGX periodically to support children and families to buy foods and essential medical requirements
- Our coordinators at the various distribution points invite families in small numbers of 4-5 to serve them the donated foods. This mechanism is recruited to help keep social distance and avoid the disease contagion.
- On some occasions and only when possible, our volunteers give direct cash to families of children whose homes are known and are reachable.
Parents/guardians were made to sign for these monies by putting their signatures or fingerprints against the sum of shillings received.
Little Light Day Care Center has been Assisting over three hundred families
(support of over 1,800 children and mothers).
Nazareth Child Care Center and the Afaayo Child Sponsorship Program, both are running in the Namulanda rural area in Uganda. Assistance to over 130 families of children. (support to close to 1000 children).
Aid in these programs is mainly given through food distribution and mobile money transfer.
Our local partners in Uganda also send mobile money in small amounts to students and families of our beneficiaries who do not live in Kampala where our team distributes foodstuff. The money is to help them buy the food and essential medical supplies from where they live.
The Israeli Medicine on the Equator Program: Our initial concerns were related to providing food for malnourished children. Furthermore, we did continue maintaining the blood pressure and diabetes clinic. The clinics continued to conduct regular check-ups and delivery of drugs, treating 340 patients throughout the district.
The local team provided traffic permits to the patients for them to reach the clinic and receive the needed care. Besides, additional medicines were bought in order to preserve the therapeutic continuum. As part of the hospital’s continuous assistance, funds for food and medical care were transferred to the children’s ward. The aid provides support for local children, as well as for refugee children from Rwanda being treated there. With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ support –MASHAV– additional equipment was purchased to strengthen diabetes and women’s health clinic activities.
SBI International provided similar support.
Furthermore, Israeli protective medical gear was sent to the hospital, and a large
amount of medical equipment was ordered from China and arrived in Uganda during
Mirembe Program for Women Empowerment: Since the lockdown, the program had to be put on hold. Food and financial resources were transferred to the women and their families. In addition, a budget has been allocated to continue creating art products to ensure future sources of income for the women and their children. As of June 2020 , the women continue producing their products in their homes, and Topaz’s local staff sends shipments of products to Israel,
so the program by now is “nearly” back to its regular activities.
Inspiration International Academy for Arts, Leadership, and Social Change: The students in the program mainly come from very poor economic backgrounds, and a third of them are refugees from African countries in the region. As part of the relief operation, a scholarship covering basic living and medical expenses was given to the students coming from poverty-stricken families to ensure their health and their ability to return to school after the crisis. It is planned to establish an international online learning center in October 2020 to continue teaching and guiding students online.
Management and Logistics:
The operation is managed and run by the nonprofit organization Topaz, its various divisions – Brit Olam, The Israeli Global Initiative, the Improve and Inspiration Movement in partnership with Tag, an international development charity, based in the United States and supported by various public organizations, including Solel Boneh International, SBI Uganda, the Ted Arison Family Foundation, the NGO A New Dawn in the Negev, the NGO Little Light in Uganda, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs – MASHAV (for the Israeli Medicine on the Equator project in Kiboga,
Uganda), the OLAM platform (as part of the Olam in Motion program) and more.
We want to express our deep appreciation to all our supporters – individual donors, charitable foundations, businesses, and Governmental Organisations. Together, we have saved many lives.
Volunteer Staff and Activists of the Relief Operation
Sailas Okwairwoth (Uganda); Dr. Yossi Ives; Lir Alter; Elina Mwanga (Uganda); Tamar Alkobi; Or Greenwald; Ran Zoltak; Hanit Henn; Dekel Yakobovich; Dr. Mike Naftali; Shmuel Sorek; Yossi Polak; Maria Abel; Tamar Zirinski-Mozel; Maria Radinski; Hadar Sagiv; Keren Stern; Boris Shindler; Dr. Shai Pintov and Kobi Landman.
Campaign operational team Contacts:
Hanit Henn, International Development Director, firstname.lastname@example.org , + 972-54-
Maria Abel, International Development Director, email@example.com, +972-
Sailas Okwairwoth, Country Director TOPAZ Uganda, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Mike Naftali, Founder and Chairperson, email@example.com, +972-50-