The 3rd Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda and Minister without Portfolio Rt. Hon. Rukia Nakadama Isanga has hailed LEELA Foundation and its Partners, the Tirupati Group Ltd for their efforts to address challenges of older people.
Nakadama was speaking at the two day retreat of older people from Kampala suburbs organized by Leela Foundation at the Source of the Nile Hotel in Jinja City on Saturday evening.
‘’This is unique and I am impressed that Leela Foundation and Tirupati Group are supporting our elderly people in the country. As Government we are happy to see such investors not only looking at making money but empowering the lives of various groups in communities .I pray that you enroll this program all over the country and I wish you start with Mayuge District. We shall welcome you, I am lucky my RDC Gulume Balyaino is here too. He will be ready to receive you’’, said Nakadama.
On her side, Juhi Barot, the founder of Leela Foundation thanked the Prime Minister for sparing time to come and meet the elderly people, adding that the peace support from the Government has enabled them to extend charity services to various vulnerable groups.
‘’We are here because of the support of Good leaders like you Rt.Hon.Prime Minister. We started with 20 people but now we have grown up with over 400 beneficiaries and here we have brought 80 Jjajas (elders) to enjoy, smile, dance and they have a feel of life. Most of them are from Luzira, Kyebando, Ntinda, Mbuya and Naguru among other areas ‘’, said Juhi.
She added that the main purpose of this retreat was to bring hope to the elderly since many have been mentally disturbed due to the pandemic for close to two years, the reason they wanted them to experience new life and kill off the stress.
‘’In the Pandemic we lost over 25 Jjajas when myself was locked in India due to the lockdown .The main reason to their death was high blood pressure, pressure and although hunger was to severe because of the monthly support from our foundation, but isolation was another serious problem and this is why we are here to give them joy’’, added Juhi.
Prior to the Jinja activities, the group was flagged for the retreat at Tirupati Group Ltd Headquarters in Kyabando along the Northern Bypass by the High Commissioner of India to Uganda Shri A. Ajay Kumar.
Kumar thanked the Tirupati Family led by Harshad Barot for taking a unique path in not only building the economy of East Africa through real estate and industrialization, but also grooming his children with humanity which led to the formation of Leela Foundation.
The Flagging off was also witnessed by local leaders in Kyebando and blessed by religious leaders including Rev.Con.Aaron Mwesigye, he Director for Ethics and Religious Affairs in the office of the President and Pastor Bodunrin Bankole.
Speaking to the Elderly, Miraj Barot, the Managing Director at Tirpati Group said in order to develop effective solutions to address some of these needs, it is important first to understand the care and support needs of older people and it’s what has made their charities impactful.
‘’ Older people living with chronic conditions have unmet care needs related to their physical and psychological health, social life, as well as the environment in which they live and interact. The importance of developing care models and support services based around the needs of older people have helped us touch the real problems hence transforming and reviving their hope’’, he said.
The 80 elderly men and women were accommodated at the fancy Source of the Nile Hotel in Jinja on Saturday and Sunday. Later they toured Source of the River Nile among other activities including a banquet
According to 2019 estimates, the population of Uganda is about 45.71 million, up from 33, 6 million in 2913. Of this, older persons of 65 and above account for 2.04 per cent.
Majority of the older persons live in areas where poverty is rampant with limited productive capacity, lack of decent shelter, lack of proper healthcare and are often discriminated against from service delivery even when they care for a big number of vulnerable children.
LEELA Foundation was founded in 2019 but formally came into existence because of the experiences of the Board of Directors namely; Mr. Harshad Barot and Ms. Juhi Barot. The Foundation has been actively involved in community services, education, philanthropy and many other humanitarian services throughout the country.
Its aims include among others; transforming the livelihood and wellbeing of girls, young women, children and the elderly economically and socially, through skills acquisition, knowledge transfer and care services.