Fitness instructor Solange Cutie Tashobya, a 31-year-old mother, lost her job the day Uganda went under lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March of last year.
With very little savings, she and her daughter were forced to move in with her sister where she started doing odd jobs to make ends meet, including baking for friends and neighbours.
She has since been able to afford to move into her own home and says women have been hardest-hit by the pandemic.
“I stopped working, gyms closed, people could not meet anymore and literally I had no… the savings I had weren’t enough to get me through a year. Even through two months. And yet I also had a daughter to take care of. So the way it affected me in that way is, it took away generally the life I knew.” Tashobya lamented.
But Tashobya also believes that there are many who have also “risen to the occasion” in order to survive and provide for their families. She wants those who have been affected to not give up.
“You can’t let bad situations stop you, because if I had stopped myself from ever thinking that I could bake and make some money or I could go find a client and make some money, I wouldn’t be here. I would probably have starved to death or something.” the 31 year old mother said.
Cinema halls, gyms and massage parlors reopened in Uganda in November 2020, with persons attending such events maintaining two meter distance.
The decision was taken months after the Uganda Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (UBBFA) appealed to the government to reopen gyms because most bodybuilders, who depend on such places for survival “have starved for long enough”.