Faith and her family in Kitui
This is such a strange time for all of us. Many of us are separated from our loved ones and dealing with the uncertainty and daily news updates about the COVID-19 outbreak can take its toll on our mental health, we hope you are coping ok.
Vic and I, and our team in Kenya, want you to know that we're thinking about you. Your support during this challenging time has brought light at a time of darkness and we thank you for continuing to stand by us and these children.
As I’m sure you may expect, the schools in Kenya are closed meaning the children and young people we support are at home with their families and not getting the free meals they would have been getting at our Seed of Hope vocational training centres. Many of the young students we work with, and their family members, have also lost their only source of income due to restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus.
Thanks to your on-going support, and our emergency fund, this week we have been able to provide emergency support to 43 students supporting 230 family members. We transferred emergency funds to them via mPesa transfer (a mobile phone currency) to adhere to social distancing rules. This enabled the families to buy a month’s supply of food, soap, hygiene products and cooking fuel. Eight families were also at risk of being made homeless because they couldn't pay their rent so we have supported them with that too.
Florence, our Seed of Hope Manager in Kenya, and the teachers are speaking to all of the students on a weekly basis to provide specialised counselling support to help them through this worrying time. They are also providing essential public health information to prevent the spread of misinformation. We anticipate needing to provide this level of support for at least another two months as it has been confirmed that the schools will remain shut for at least another month and restrictions on movement show no sign of being lifted at the moment meaning many will still have no means of earning an income to support their family.
There was already a huge demand for our free vocational training courses, the demand is only going to increase in the coming months as Kenya tries to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. We know from working in Kenya for 19 years that girls, and the most vulnerable, will always be negatively impacted the most so we are preparing for ways we can increase our support to those who need us most.
It is costing £30/$37 to provide a month of food and essentials for a family of 5 plus an additional £40/$49 for those who need rent support. It is a worrying time for all of the children and families but they know that we will stand by them now more than ever, thanks to the wonderful support of kind people like you - so we just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for enabling us to be there when we are needed the most.
We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.
With best wishes,
Kirsty Erridge - Deputy Director
Rose from Kitui with family and their supplies
Sharon from Kitui with parents, sister & brother
Emma, her brother and sister with their supplies