Reaching Out to Remote Islands in Uganda

This photo shows a boat full of food material and packets, labelled CBM. Some men and unloading the boat. The Lake Victoria can be seen in the background.

Food items reach the remote Buvuma islands via boat during the coronavirus pandemic.
© CBM

CBM is carrying out life-saving work in remote areas in many countries to ensure that no one is left behind during the corona pandemic.

23-year-old Amos Tulitoka lives on Buvuma Island off the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda. He comes from a large family. Amos used to go to school but soon gave up his education – the school was too far away to reach on foot. Amos is physically impaired, having been affected by polio at the age of three. His disability was further aggravated due to a road accident at the age of 13.

The Buvuma islands consist of more than 50 islands and the main island - Buvuma is approximately 25 kilometres, by water, south of the major city of Jinja, and around 90 kilometres south-east of the national capital, Kampala. 

There is a somewhat unreliable ferry to the mainland. There are also unofficial small boat services from Kiyindi, a major fishing village on the shores of Lake Victoria. Boat taxis provide transportation daily from the islands. There are two health centres, but no electricity on the island. The area is very poor compared to other parts of Uganda because funds allocated to it are often diverted before they reach the island.  Due to rising water levels on Lake Victoria, the islands are not easily accessible by small boats.

This photo shows a young man standing in front of a boat, he has a long stick in his hand that he uses as a crutch.

Amos Tulitoka

© CBM

“The biggest challenge we face here is transport within and outside the island,” Amos expresses how he feels. “As a person with a disability, I find it very hard to move around – I use a long stick as a makeshift crutch.”

Another challenge in the Buvuma islands is inadequate healthcare.

We have poor health facilities - we have only one doctor and 15 nurses to serve all the Buvuma islands. To receive proper medical attention, we need to travel far to the neighbouring district Jinja or Mukono town.
Amos

Amos works as a gardener and earns money for his daily survival. His work is now impeded due to the coronavirus.

“I am very happy about the food distribution by NUDIPU and CBM. It will help supplement my income so that I can have a meal every day,” says Amos smiling. Accessibility is a huge challenge for persons with disabilities on the island. They do not have assistive devices like wheelchairs that could help them move freely in the islands. Amos advocates strongly for his voice to be heard. He hopes that support is given to the islanders as well, since they are generally ignored and not involved in national planning.

Amos says he has never heard about CBM but is grateful that the organisation is reaching out to people even in the poorest and remote place.

I am very happy for this opportunity and would be really happy to get to know more about CBM.
Amos

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