Since covid 19 struck earlier this year, we have not been able to make the progress we would have liked with our project. Many of our activities have been hampered by a combination of government restrictions, necessary caution and a reduction in donor funding.
Usually, August sees us receiving visitors from overseas, in particular students, who participate as volunteers in our mobile school outreach and, in turn, assist in our fundraising efforts. This year, we have received no visitors due to covid 19 restrictions and, this has the knock-on effect of also affecting future donations. And, this was exacerbated by a regular donor, who relies on fundraising through sponsored marathons, concerts etc in Europe, having to stop funding as such events cannot be held.
We were forced to close our street drop-in centre in March when the Kenyan government implemented 'lock-down' and closed all schools and rescue centres. Schools and rescue centres remain closed and this is likely to stay in effect until at least January. We put in extra efforts to reintegrate children on the streets in March to reduce numbers living on the streets of Kitale, knowing that we would not have a rescue facility available for the foreseeable future and our outreach work on the streets would be severely hampered by lock-down restrictions.
We concentrated our efforts in assisting the families of children we had reintegrated from the streets in the early part of 2020 and others in need, to avoid any possibility of those children sufferering from deprivation at home or feeling the need to run away again. This aid took the form of our social workers visiting those families and taking emergency aid packages to them to ensure they could feed their families and also to provide emotional support. This has been successful and we continue to do this.
When lockdown was lifted a few weeks ago, many families could once again resume some of their economic activiities such as small market stalls and casual jobs and this has helped them considerably, following on from four months of no real income. Kenya does not have any social welfare support system. Inability to work or trade means zero financial income.
Unfortunately, lifting of lock-down, and no schools being open, has meant that children have started to drift back to the streets of Kitale. We are again doing outreach and trying to reintegrate children but this is being made more difficult by not being able to utilise our drop-in centre or mobile school as both facilities remain closed due to government restricitions.
We continue to need help reintegrating children to keep them off the streets as much as possible. In order to keep children at home, we still need to be able to provide their families with help to ensure the home remains a place of comfort, safety and enough food on the table until such time as covid 19 is completely under control and people can go back to normal life including school and jobs. Many families rely on schools and sponsored or subsided schooling and school meals to help out in this regard. School feeding programmes and regular classes help keep children fed and occupied and reduce the influx to the streets. We need to step in and do what we can to keep children well fed and happy at home.
Thank you for your support in these trying times.