Tutapona, one of MAF’s partners in Uganda, is an organisation that provides trauma rehabilitation programs for many refugees in the area. Uganda has one of the largest populations of internally displaced people (refugees) in the world. Before lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19 were put in place, MAF was able to fly in supplies for Tutapona to set up a radio program for children in Adjumani, Northern Uganda. Photos by Dennis Okot, Tutapona Uganda. Story by Tutapona Uganda. In February, when Tutapona launched our very first children’s program in Adjumani, Northern Uganda, MAF was able to fly in the supplies needed for this play based program to get off the ground, and transport some of our staff to the area.
When COVID-19 started rapidly spreading worldwide, we quickly stopped our in-person operations as an outbreak in a refugee settlement would be devastating. Adjumani hosts over 203,000 people living as refugees - more than half of them children - and these extraordinary times pushed us to quickly think of creative solutions to continue to reach these kids in a safe way. A situation like this, filled with anxiety and uncertainty, can become triggering for an already vulnerable and traumatized population. That’s how our Heroes Journey children’s curriculum hit the airwaves and turned into the Heroes Broadcasts!
Our two week, play-based trauma care and mental health programming has been adapted into seven 30-minute radio sessions which are being aired over community radio to support refugee and host community youth, with an added focus on addressing the current adversity inflicted by COVID-19. The program includes relaxation techniques and stories, helping to instill courage, resilience and hope to help them grow through these challenging times. The episodes are currently airing in English every Thursday evening, so once curfew hits people can tune in and listen with their little ones. We’re currently working on recordings in various other languages and our hope is that once we’re well established in Adjumani, we will expand our broadcasting to other settlements in Uganda, or elsewhere in East Africa.
We’re continually thankful for the support MAF has supplied us with, helping transport the materials to get this program up and running to Adjumani earlier this year. Now, not only have our staff had the amazing opportunity to fly above Uganda in an MAF plane, they’ve also been able to soar above it on the airwaves!