Minister Kanyike: “That little things you do from the heart with the little you have matters so much…”
Your Excellency the Ambassador of India to Uganda
The Division Mayor, Kawempe Division
The Patron, LEELA Foundation
The Managing Director, LEELA Foundation
Beneficiaries of Charity from the Heart
Ladies and Gentlemen
Your Excellency, I am very delighted to be here today to officially launch and commission the “Charity from the heart” to the elderly that has been developed and implemented for some time now in Kampala and some other parts of Uganda by LEELA Foundation.
At the same time, I am happy to note that this is coming at the time we are concluding the commemoration of the International week for Older Persons in which we review efforts geared towards improving the lives of Older Persons.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, older persons in Uganda constitute 3.7% of the entire population of Uganda which translates to 1.6Million people. Older persons in Uganda face numerous challenges ranging from increased ill health especially heart related diseases, non-communicable diseases, poor nutrition, elder abuse, among others.
Further to this, due to urbanization, the culture of traditional care for older persons by extended family members has diminished and you now find many older persons having to care for themselves in addition to taking care orphans and other vulnerable children with limited sources of income.
This situation has been worsened by the COVID-19 Pandemic which has brought in complications in access to services as many livelihood sources for older persons have been hampered by the COVID 19 preventive guidelines that have brought some restrictions in engagement in productive activities.
Your Excellency, with all these challenges older persons are facing amidst the COVID 19 Pandemic, the support of LEELA Foundation comes at the time when it is needed most because this support will shield older persons and their families from falling into deprivation.
Your Excellency, the Government is aware of these challenges and we are working hard to ensure that older persons are supported especially during this COVID-19 Pandemic. The Government implements a monthly cash transfer programme that provides older persons with a monthly cash transfer of UGX25,000 to all older persons across the country aged 80 years and above. This programme has now been rolled out across the country including Kampala Capital City Authority.
Your Excellency, as we launch and commission “Charity from the Heart” initiative, the lesson we learn and as it has been alluded to by the Managing Director that it does not take us to have so much to do and transform society through the most vulnerable people in our society.
That little things you do from the heart with the little you have matters so much. As Mother Thereza of Calcutta once said “Never worry about numbers…help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you” or what Mahatma Gandhi said “The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer” we need to all start from where we are and do something in the lives of people around us.
Your Excellency the Ambassador, collaborations like these are crucial in promoting inclusive development in our communities. Such collaborations should therefore be formalized with the Ministry. I therefore suggest that LEELA Foundation enters a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to further this initiative and further urge the beneficiaries of this support to utilize it in betterment of their lives.
I would like therefore to officially launch and commission the “Charity from the Heart” to the Older Persons by LEELA Foundation.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
Hon. Sarah Kanyike is the State Minister for Disability and Elderly in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.