Charles Sonel, a South Sudanese national and third-year student at Kyambogo University says he prefers returning home since he is uncertain on whether he will be able to foot his food bill in the next month.
want the government and Foreign Affairs Ministries in their home countries to make
arrangements to evacuate them from Uganda given the economic hardships they are
facing because of the lockdown.
The students, some of whom have been in the country
for three months without attending any lessons, say they are uncertain of their
survival in case learning institutions don’t reopen in a month’s time.
Charles Sonel, a South Sudanese national and third-year student at Kyambogo
University says he prefers returning home since he is uncertain on whether he
will be able to foot his food bill in the next month.
“We are going through
a hard situation. We are depending on government food relief, which is about to
run out. So, the only option I feel is returning home because at least at home
it’s easy for us to cover expenses such as food and shelter,” Sonel said
Like Sonel, Ali Idriss a final master’s student from Nigeria at Kampala
International University, says the increase in the exchange rates has affected
him. “Before the lockdown, if I had about 20,000 Nigerian Nairas on my account
and changed it I would have about 200,000 Shillings. However, due to the
current dollar rate, I could get about 160, 000 Shillings,” Idriss said.
The Uganda Shilling has in the past one month gained value against the dollar
from Shillings 3,900 at the start of March. However, it has since appreciated
to Shillings 3,760 against a dollar. This means if one is receiving money from
outside, the conversion gives them less than what they would have received a
Idriss says he cannot wait for any further extension of the lockdown since he
is running out of pocket money. Emanuel Kwizera, a Burundian national and PhD
student at Nkumba University, says he would like to return to his country
because the lockdown has led to unnecessary expense
“I would like to
return home because I am already operating in losses. For my case, I operate
businesses back home and I normally have a plan on how to use my money. But
because of this lockdown, I find myself diverting money to more essential needs,”
Kwizera says the majority of his colleagues want to return home because they are
uncertain when the institutions will be reopened. He also calls upon Uganda
and his home government to organize means to send back international students
who would wish to return to their home countries.
The students also want the government
to provide them relief food since the majority of them are surviving on personal
savings and money from their parents.