ARUA. Days after supporting more than 50 people with disabilities (PWDs) from different parts of West Nile region, Touch a Life (TaL) – West Nile, a local community based organization (CBO) in Arua has continued to extend more relief support to the vulnerable people in the region.

The latest to benefit from TaL – West Nile are the elderly people in Arua City and other neighboring districts of Arua, Terego and Maracha among others.

The helpless elders mainly aged 80 years and above received a package of 5 kilograms of maize flour, 2 kilograms of beans and a bar of soap to help them during the ongoing coronavirus disease lock-down period.

Most of the elders who benefited from the relief are the destitute living in deplorable conditions with little hope in life.

“I give thanks to God for what I have received. My husband and my only child died very many years ago. I was brought to stay here by my nephew, and his wife is the one who brings for me food to eat. I am right now very weak; I can’t walk and do work on my own, but I thank God that you have come to help me today,” Orusula Buleru, 87, a resident of Prison Cell, Arua Central Division in Arua City said on Monday.

Buleru lives in a single-roomed house of about 2mx3m, located just a stone throw away from the newly constructed school road in Arua town. On sight, many believe it is a locally constructed pit latrine yet that is where Buleru has been sheltering herself for the past many years.

“I had no hope of getting anything elsewhere, but now with the food and soap you have given me, I think God has spoken to you (TaL) people to also come to my aid. I am so happy right now,” Buleru said.

Veronica Bako, another elderly and sickly woman living in Ombizevua cell in Arua Central Division with almost similar conditions like that of Buleru appealed for more support given her worsening health condition.

Robert Mungufeni, Bako’s grandson commended TaL - West Nile for the support, saying it will be a great psychological boost for his grandmother since she has taken years without receiving visitors.

“My grandmother has been sickly without people coming to see her and even right now, she is suffering from malaria. I thank you so much for coming to support us by helping her. I am the one who has been looking for food to feed her because most of her children have died. Currently, things are hard but I am happy that you have brought for her some help,” Mungufeni said.

Bako TaLBako receives her relief support from Andama of TaL on Monday. PHOTO BY ANDREW COHEN AMVESI

Meanwhile Ismail Anguyo, the Ombizevua Cell Local Council 1 general secretary pointed out that most elderly people in his cell lack government support with the exception of about three who are benefiting from the social assistance grant for empowerment (SAGE) program.

SAGE is a government of Uganda program aimed at tackling chronic poverty in the country and addressing the impact of poverty on social cohesion and the ability of chronically poor and elderly people to access healthcare, education and other key services.

The senior citizens’ grant empowers elders above 80 years with each receiving Shs25, 000 per month which money is not accessed by most senior citizens in West Nile region.

However, through TaL - West Nile, Martin Andama, the programs manager said: “The organization targets the vulnerable children, the elderly persons and deserted babies. That is our core area of intervention where we look at the welfare and the lives of these kinds of categories of people. This time with the covid-19 around conceived with almost no tangible support, the directors of TaL – West Nile came together and pulled resources to buy some food stuff to be given to specifically the target groups that we work with.”

“And it is on this basis that we get this food and give it out to the vulnerable people including the elderly people above 80 years of age,” Andama added.

Ms Zubeda Shida Olekua, the TaL – West Nile program coordinator said their target is to assist a total of 100 elderly people in selected parts of the West Nile region during this coronavirus lockdown period.