UNSA, Balamu donates relief food to starving university students

Posho, rice, soap and beans were donated to Kyambogo University students who are being affected by the COVID-19 lock down. File Photo
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The Uganda National Students Association (UNSA) has today started donating relief food to starving university students who remained in hostels after the public means of transport were banned by the President.

The association made requests to the Office of the Prime Minister to be offered support to help the stranded students from different Universities.   

The arrangements of donating relief food have started from Kyambogo University where food including posho, beans, rice among others were allocated and given out to over 50 students.

However, to the surprise of the organisers the estimated numbers exceeded the preplanned ones leading to many missing out on getting what to eat. 

 “The reason as to why we are donating relief food is because most of these students missed out on the opportunity of getting food from the National Task Force,” Baluku Ronald Bruno, the Guild Aspirant Kyambogo University told this website.

The UNSA Vice President who also doubles as Kyambogo Vice Guild President Ms. Ninsima Herene revealed how they acquired the food and their plans to cover all the universities in the country.

“we got information about students who were starving around universities, we then wrote to different offices, Parliament of Uganda, office of the prime minister among others and we thank the Office of the Prime Minister for responding quickly and this is why we have this kind of food,” Ms. Ninsima told Cyclone Times.  

However, she said that they were able to acquire food for only 500 students at the moment.

“We looked at the universities having more students stranded as well as the Kampala metropolitan to be able to give out the food instead of keeping it in the stores as we wait for more food so as to cover the entire universities.

“So, we decided on Kyambogo and Makerere first, and that is why we are here today and we are giving them whatever we have available,” she added.

Asked why the students were failing to keep the social distance as required by the Ministry of Health, she said it wasn’t their intention to serve food from Kyambogo but the moment they announced that the Office of the Prime Minister had given them food, students immediately thought they had to come to Kyambogo University to get it.

“Since the food was already at Kyambogo University, we couldn’t disperse the students while they looked at the food,” she explained.       

Balamu, the Music Promoter was also spoted among the team which was giving out food to the students something which raised questions as he isn’t in any way related to UNSA programmes.

Balamu together with UNSA team donating relief food to the Kyambogo students who remained in hostels after public means of transport were banned by the president of Uganda.
Balamu together with UNSA team donating relief food to the Kyambogo students who remained in hostels after public means of transport were banned by the president of Uganda. File Photo

However, trusted sources explained to our reporter saying that Balamu has always wanted to help different people so when he heard about students being stranded in hostels, he wanted to be part of the project to help them. 

Earlier this week, Balamu through a statement on his social media handles, expressed sympathy to the affected students and vowed to help them through the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) in charge of the areas they reside in.

“Our dear Brothers & Sisters stuck in hostels around Banda. Kyambogo and Nakawa through your leadership go Meet our great RDC Anderson in Nakawa he will provide you with some food. Kindly do it before Wednesday morning since the project will be closing in Nakawa Division!

“Kindly move with your Id and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines. Muk hostels students visit Kawempe RDC Master Hood for assistance as well through your leaders. Kasanga, Kabalagala visit RDC Makindye for help,” Balaam said.

Talking to one of the beneficiaries whose names withheld, he said life hasn’t been easy considering having no food, convincing the land lord to allow him to stay around and meeting the expensive utility bills.

“The lockdown found me at the hostel, public means of transport were banned and I couldn’t travel back home on time. The land lord tasked me to pay rent and I had no where to get the money from, but I insisted to stay around. Later, he allowed me to stay but denied to provide me with water and electricity and I had to find a way,” he said.

“The biggest problem has been on getting what to eat. So, I could rely on friends who would send me something to eat,” He narrated in a disguise.

On Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga directed government to quickly intervene and rescue starving students in different hostels and halls of residence who are currently stranded without food due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

In her communication to Members of Parliament, Speaker Kadaga noted an appeal made to her office by the Uganda National Students Association (UNSA) who reported that 1,750 national and international students all over the country are stranded in hostels, rentals, halls of residence and other accommodation places.

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