By Howard Mwesigwa
On Friday this week, the leadership of the 86th Students’ Guild at Makerere University, headed by the Guild President Mr. Ivan Ssempijja, undertook an initiative geared towards reaching out to some of the needy and vulnerable students; both local and international, stranded in Africa hall of residence, hostels around Kikoni, Kikumikikumi, Mulago, Bwaise and rentals around Makerere University.
The move follows a week-long prior survey carried out by the Guild government as a pilot study to ascertain and establish the total number and location of these students. The survey ultimately revealed that the total number of students stranded around Makerere University was approximately 600 and of these, approximately 230 are international students.
The plight of the international students in particular, has been meticulously pursued by the Guild Minister for External Affairs, Hon. Mamuch Deng Nyang. In his letter (to the student fraternity) dated 20/7/2021, the Guild Minister for External Affairs intimated that he was in liaison with the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda, the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development and other stake holders to find a more sustainable solution for the International Students.
In an interview before the donation, Mr. Ivan Ssempijja, the Guild President, noted that the stranded students had been exerting unprecedented pressure on his government and had accordingly drawn his attention to their dire situation, compelling him and the members of his government to mobilise the few resources they could, for a quick response.
The donated items included bars of soap, rice, maize flour, sugar, sanitary towels among others. It is estimated that this initiative cost between 4-5 Million Ugandan shillings. In our follow up interview with the Guild Prime Minister and former Guild Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Abbas Luyombo, he intimated to us that the beneficiaries of the initiative were between 80-100 out of the total number of 600 established to be stranded in and around the University. He ultimately reiterated the call of the Guild President and the Deputy Prime Minister, to the University Management and all the stakeholders to undertake a keen and immediate response to the plight of these students.
The efforts to engage all the stakeholders concerned with the welfare of these students are underway and we are elated to bring these developments under the ambit of your knowledge.