COVID-19: Lawyers’ Emergency Fund Raises 6M In One Day
An Emergency Fund established on Thursday by a group of Lawyers to help colleagues in the Profession hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic has so far realised 6 Million Uganda Shillings in donations, according to a Communique seen by the Legal Reports.
” Chairperson Adv. Assumpta Kemigisha Ssebunya and Treasurer Adv. Sylvia Namawejje Ebitu are pleased to announce that the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for Lawyers has raised Shs 6,087,000 in less than 24 hours after it was launched to help soften the mental, health and economic tolls of the coronavirus crisis on members of the Uganda Law Society” The Communique reads.
The Lawyers’ idea to launch the Emergency Fund came days after local media reported that a young lawyer was arrested as he tried to access State House Nakasero apparently to beg food from President Museveni.
” Funds have so far come in the form of mobile money donations by members of the Law Society ” the Communique says, adding:
” There are no grants yet from government, corporations and wealthier individuals in the wider society ”
The Lawyers note that the donations so collected are not enough as they have been bombarded with a torrent of calls from young and senior colleagues asking for help.
” Based on the requests that we have so far reviewed, there are hundreds of people – from young lawyers to seniors and their families – that were caught off guard by the pandemic, and they are going to need our support” They say in the Communique.
Per the Government of Uganda policy to render assistance to its citizens hard hit by the Pandemic, Lawyers and other professionals are not catered for despite their day to day revenue streams having been blocked by the stringent measures intended to curb the spread of the virus.
According to the Communique, “an inaugural meeting of the 10-member Goodwill committee, charged with the task of managing the Fund, was successfully held via zoom app between 16:30 hours and 18:50 hours [Friday] to outline the process for raising even more funds and distributing them promptly and equitably to eligible beneficiaries.
” The meeting was adjourned to 16:30 hours the following day (Saturday, 18 April 2020) to complete the formulation of guidelines, make urgent disbursements, and consider and approve expressions of interest from two providers of mental health services who responded to the Convener’s call for action”
The Fund, its Chairperson Ms Sebunya says, intends to have realised 20 Million Uganda Shillings in contributions by Monday next week.
” We would love for us to raise Shs 20 million by Monday… So I beseech the more resilient colleagues from the Law Society and the wider community to help us raise this kind of money, and give support to those that need it the most”