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Sep 3, 2020

A new term, but schools remain closed

It's a new term, but schools in Kenya remain closed. Normally, we would be gathering for our start of term planning meetings and catching up with all our students, hearing all they got up to in the holidays. But sadly, we will have to wait until January when we hope the schools will reopen again.


In the meantime, we remain busy. Our teachers are supporting children's learning at home by sending worksheets home regularly for children to work on and return. Our partners, Vitabu Vyetu and Dignitas, are helping us with learning resources. The government have said that all children will have to repeat the year when schools reopen in January. As a result, some children are losing interest in their studies.


We are keen to keep the children engaged in positive activities so we have joined in the My Home My Playground Campaign run by Futbolmas Kenya. Our football coaches send out activity sheets to families each week full of games, craft activities and life skills lessons for the children to do at home with their family.


The social work team continue to check-in with each family's wellbeing and we have occasionally met up with small groups of children to check-in with how they are doing at home. Life is tough for many of our students at this time. All are missing their school friends, some are facing difficult situations at home, our staff are doing their best to ensure each child knows that we are still here for them.


Finally, with your help, we have been able to provide food vouchers to families every week throughout the school closures. So many parents have lost their jobs, these vouchers make sure our students don’t go hungry and relieve just a bit of the stress that parents are facing at this time.


Thank you so much for standing with us throughout this time. In a couple of weeks, from the 14-18 September, GlobalGiving will be matching all small donations (less than $50) by 50%. If you want to help us continue supporting our students as they remain home until January 2020. Please do make a small donation during that week on GlobalGiving. We are so grateful for your support.

Aug 3, 2020

Coronavirus response in Kibera - 5 months in

Parents shop using their weekly food vouchers
Parents shop using their weekly food vouchers

Thank you so much for supporting us to respond to coronavirus in Kibera. You’ve helped us to do so much to stand with the community we serve. The first cases of coronavirus in Kenya were reported in March and schools (and therefore all our normal programmes) were closed immediately. Since then, with your help, we have:

  • Provided 1,733 food vouchers to families who have lost jobs and incomes
  • Distributed 234 face masks to the families we serve
  • Run 19 handwashing stations around Kibera that serve 665 people each day
  • Distributed 273 posters spreading useful information on coronavirus, how to stop the spread and how to correctly use a face mask.
  • Providing worksheets and teacher support to help children continue learning at home

Since schools closed, our social workers have kept in regular contact with each of the 150 families we normally work with in Kibera. While a few have managed to keep their jobs or sustain their small businesses, most have lost their usual sources of income from casual labour. Normally their children would receive 2 school meals each day at our centres, now most families are only eating one meal a day to stretch out the little they have. Like 10-year-old Alex, both of his parents have lost their jobs and there’s rarely enough food in the house for Alex and his siblings. You have helped us to provide a weekly food voucher to the hardest-hit families including Alex.

We’re distributing these vouchers through local shops in Kibera, this means Alex and his family can get whatever they need close to their home and we support small-businesses in Kibera at the same time.

We’re continuing to provide free handwashing stations around the slum enabling people to wash their hands regularly at no extra cost. We’re partnering with small business owners who watch over the ad hoc handwash points made out of recycled cooking oil bottles. Three of our student’s mums are making the 125l of soap needed each week to supply the stations.

We have not yet reached the peak of infections in Kenya and schools are not expected to open until January 2021. We are determined to continue supporting the families we work with and the wider community as best we can. If you could make another donation to help us sustain this work, or share about what we’re doing with a friend, you would be making a huge difference.

Thank you.

Locally-made reusable masks
Locally-made reusable masks
Handwashing stations in the community
Handwashing stations in the community
Jun 8, 2020

The Food Voucher System

A local shop:One of our partners
A local shop:One of our partners

Kenya recorded its first case of Corona virus in March 2020. In a bid to slow the spread of this virus, the Kenyan Government temporarily closed all learning institutions. This meant we also closed our programmes for the time being.

School for most of our students not only represents a safe space for them to learn and grow but also a place where they are guaranteed to get two meals during school days. The closure of schools and the strained incomes of most households, therefore, meant that most of our students were not guaranteed to receive three healthy meals a day.

As an organization understanding the new challenges that faced our beneficiaries as a result of the pandemic shifted our focus and currently our activities are geared towards reducing hunger and promoting health amongst vulnerable families worst hit by the pandemic and reducing the spread of Corona virus in Kibera.

To reduce hunger among the 150 vulnerable families that we serve, we set up the food voucher system. We provide a weekly food voucher that enables families to purchase essentials from the local shops we have partnered with. This system ensures that our beneficiaries don’t walk long distances to do their shopping and we also support local businesses in Kibera. 

One of the families benefiting from this program is Sylvia’s family. Sylvia is the firstborn of three children and she lives with her father. The father worked as a night guard before the pandemic hit and could provide for his children without much strain because Sylvia had her meals in schools and her siblings also ate lunch in school. Unfortunately, he was laid off once the pandemic hit the country and therefore providing for his family became a challenge. The food voucher ensures that he can purchase food from a shop next to his home and ensure that his children remain healthy during this period.

The food voucher system means that we are catering to more than 200 students and this is more costly than running our school feeding programme. We are therefore raising additional funds to make these vouchers go further, you can support our Corona virus response directly through this GlobalGiving project page.

 

We look forward to resuming all our normal programmes soon. Until then, your giving ensures that the children we serve and their families continue to remain healthy.

 
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