Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children

by Springs of Hope Foundation
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Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Nakuru Safehouse for Women and Children
Two single moms at our recent food distribution.
Two single moms at our recent food distribution.


On March 26, the Kenyan government announced further restrictions in an attempt to stop the 3rd wave of Covid 19 sweeping across the country. 
In his address to the nation on March 26th, President Kenyatta is quoted as saying,
"Since my last address to the nation on 12th March, 7,630 Kenyans have been admitted into our hospitals for COVID-19. Yet before my address to the nation on March 12th, 4,990 Kenyans had been admitted. In 13 days only, our admission rate increased by 52%. This confirms the fact that a Third Wave of COVID-19 is at hand in Kenya. The positivity rate is at its highest since the pandemic hit us; the death rate is devastating by all measures; and the stress the pandemic is placing on our health system is unparalleled.
Based on experience, this peak will flatten only by Mid-May 2021, which is about 60 days from now.

THAT WAS ONE MONTH AGO!

The following is a report I recently received from our head teachers' husband, Ephantus Wachira, who's passion for volunteering his time and his vehicle every week to deliver our food hampers and facemasks to the most vulnerable in our county is both humbling and tremendously appreaciated.

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Dear Jennifer,

The situation in Nakuru is very tough especially for those living in the slums. Many are going without food and other essentials for days at a time. Our government has no plans to alleviate the situation and as such people have been left to survive the best way they can.

Working with the village elders and community leaders the plan going forward is to do several stops with no more than 15 beneficiaries gathering in one place to receive our food hampers as per the government directive. Since we are dealing with beneficiaries at the lowest level of the pyramid- elderly & persons with disabilities, they do not push or fight over the food hampers.

Kijiji Mission has become a reliable partner to the vulnerable communities and they have a lot of faith in our work. At every meeting we clearly state that the donations are from Kijiji Mission and also explain to them the good work that Kijiji Mission is doing with the teenage girls in need of a second chance in life.

Last week during the food hampers distribution a lady stood up in the gathering after I had explained the work being done by Kijiji Mission and confirmed to the over 90 persons gathered that indeed it is true, a destitute girl she had rescued was currently enrolled in our empowerment program at Kijiji Mission. The applause was humbling to me and made me realize that some small acts that we do can mean so much and be life changing to others.

Kijiji Mission has also been applauded by beneficiaries due to the humane treatment and dignity accorded to them in its Covid19 response intervention both in the field and during callback by community leaders seeking assistance for needy teenage girls in their areas. We shall continue to be good ambassadors and endeavor to bring lasting change to the young women coming to Kijiji Mission while also making life bearable for the community they leave behind.

Sincerely,

Ephantus Wachira

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Sixty days! This will be devastating for many Kenyan girls, who lost 9 months of school attendance last year. The additional minimum 2 months at home will mean that many girls will never return to school due mainly to lack of school fees and inability to catch up, forcing them into early marriage.
Experts worry the pandemic could roll back decades of progress on gender equality and girls' education.

Fortunately for our young women, even though we're a vocational training school, the authorities did not order us to send our young women home. Instead, they were very agreeable to us having the students make facemasks to be given out to vulnerable families who could not afford to purchase them and package our 100 plus food hampers every week. 

It simply would not be possible for us to reach so many desperately needy families without your very generous support. 

With thanks and Blessings,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom 

This weeks recipients of our food hamper program
This weeks recipients of our food hamper program
This week we focused on female heads of households
This week we focused on female heads of households
The elderly, and disabled.
The elderly, and disabled.
Elderly recipients of our food hamper program
Elderly recipients of our food hamper program
The families also received much needed facemasks.
The families also received much needed facemasks.

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Children at our food hamper distribution last week
Children at our food hamper distribution last week

On March 11th 2020 the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic—and turned all of our lives upside down. One year ago, a hug went from a warm greeting to a health hazard. We were forced to separate from friends and family; tragically, some of us lost friends and family.

The first case of Covid 19 was detected in Kenya on March 13th. The government immediately sprang into action, closing all schools, small shops, open markets, factories and basically any means of employment where the wage earner was surviving on a bare minimum salary to begin with, and no backup savings. Often, if a son or daughter had a job in one of the larger cities, money was sent home to elderly parents each month to enable them to pay for the minimum essentials of food and shelter.

Being a school, we were told to close Kijiji Mission and send all of our students’ home to their overcrowded slums. Fortunately, we were able to convince the area officials to let most of our students stay with us, where they would be safe. We just weren't allowed to function as a school, meaning that Martha could no longer follow her curriculum.

Not a problem! There was an immediate need for facemasks. So, we got to work making facemasks to be given out to anyone in the community who couldn't afford to purchase one.

 With the help of local Lions Club, Rotary, Rotaract Club and local small NGO's we were able to get thousands of facemasks out to the most vulnerable in our community as quickly as possible.

Within a very short time it became obvious that women who relied on a few dollars a day to feed their children by doing washing, housework or selling in the markets had nothing to feed their families. As soon as we were out of our two-week quarantine period at the end of March, we did our first food hamper distribution program, and we've been doing them every week ever since.

Our focus is the elderly, child headed households, single female headed households and people living with disabilities. One valuable lesson that has come out of our journey through 2020 is that this segment of the population will need our assistance long after the "new normal" sets in. Martha and Ephantus have committed themselves to doing the food distribution on weekends for as long as Springs of Hope Foundation can afford to provide the food and a small petrol allowance for Ephantus' donated vehicle.

Last weekend we were able to distribute 190 food hampers to the elderly and people living with disabilities. Each hamper contains enough food to feed a family of four for two weeks.

On most food distribution occasions we are able to do more than provide much needed food. We usually come across situations where the family needs additional assistance or counseling.

For example, recently we met a young mother of two boys were both born blind. Ephantus was able to assist their mother by getting them enrolled into a school in Nakuru that caters to the special needs of blind children. Something their single mother would never have known how to go about doing.

Finally, on September 1st we were able to bring in new students. Primary and high schools were still closed, but as a vocational training school Kijiji Mission was able to begin teaching again. We'd built up a backlog of very needy women who were eager to join our 12-month program. Most had been recommended by the area chiefs who we met when doing our food distribution program. Unfortunately, we can only bring them in one at a time, placing them in our now unused volunteer house for a two-week quarantine period. We've been admitting new students for the past six months and we still have women on the waiting list.

At last, the students who began their 12-month training with us in January 2020 will be graduating at the end of this month. Normally graduation is a huge celebration. Families often hire a minivan to bring the many family members who want to be part of their graduation ceremony.

Sadly, like the last graduation ceremony in August 2020, only the students and staff will be able to celebrate their many accomplishments and personal sacrifices during the past 16 months.

Thank you for being part of our unexpected, unpredictable journey. During the past 12 months we've learned that we're capable of doing many things when called to serve. Such as instantly pivoting from being a vocational training school to a mass production facility. By the way, the girls loved being in a position to give back to their communities, and often worked on the facemasks through their lunch break and on weekends.

We've learned so much about the unaddressed needs of the elderly and people living with disabilities. During the past 12 months, because of your generous support we've been able to assist in our modest way. We are committed to continuing with the food program, and hopefully seeing it grow.

But, most importantly 2020 has shown us all that, when the going gets tough, the very best in everyone comes out.  Martha, Ephantus, Beryl, and our students did an outstanding job of getting everyone through a very stressful 12 months.

My huge gratitude and thanks go out to our team in Kenya and to our generous supporters all over the world who make it all possible,

 

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

Elderly recipients of our food hamper program
Elderly recipients of our food hamper program
New students becoming familiar with their machines
New students becoming familiar with their machines
New students learning how to draft a pattern
New students learning how to draft a pattern

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Children in our food distribution program
Children in our food distribution program

As 2020 comes to an end, we would like to ask you to keep the women and children that Springs of Hope Foundation supports in Kenya in your thoughts.

For all of us, 2020 has been a year like no other — but for children and families in Africa, it has brought an added layer of worry to their struggle.

But with your support, there continues to be light at the end of the tunnel for our communities.
This Holiday Season we're asking you, our incredible Springs of Hope Foundation family, to give a gift of life-sustaining food to the elderly, disabled, women and child headed households we have been assisting weekly through our food hamper distribution program ever since Covid 19 arrived in Kenya in March. This week we will be delivering 150 hampers to assure the vulnerable families in our county can survive.

Together we can keep vulnerable families healthy and nourished. And together we can continue to teach and empower women to break the poverty cycle and generate income to support their families through our vocational training program.
Please visit our web page to learn more about our program.
www.springsofhopefoundation.org
Stay safe and well.
Asante Sana,
Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

Founder/CEO

Springs of Hope Foundation

PLEASE DONATE

Community members at one of our weekly food sites
Community members at one of our weekly food sites
Elderly recipients of our food distribution progr
Elderly recipients of our food distribution progr
Child headed household receiving our food hamper
Child headed household receiving our food hamper

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We noticed the children were not active & playing
We noticed the children were not active & playing

Kenya experienced post-election tribal clashes after the 2007 disputed elections that left many families homeless, lost properties, and means to a livelihood. May also lost land since they could not remain in the hostile regions they had lived in all their lives. Those families that had an ancestral home elsewhere relocated back and those with some savings bought small plots mostly measuring 50ft by 100ft and settled there but with no arable land, it meant that many became destitute all of a sudden. However, the majority of the displaced families had nowhere to go and solely depended on the government effort to resettle them.

In one of these resettlement projects- Kirathimo IDP Camp a group of 144 elderly persons who had nowhere to go was moved to the border of Nakuru East and Mirangine area located  1.5 hours’  drive on torturous roads in a scenic hill with biting winds overlooking Lake Elementaita. SOHF was invited to visit the area by a representative of persons with disabilities who explained the plight of the villagers who resided in two camps ½ kilometer apart that is Kirathimo 1 and Kirathimo 2. The team planned two trips back to back one on 18/09/2020 and 25/09/2020. On these two trips, a friend donated his 4x4 tour van to be used for the distribution due to the rugged terrain.

Located on a hilly outcrop, Kirathimo IDP camp is a bad place to be for an elderly person and persons with disabilities. All shelters in these camps are makeshift some made of UN shelter box tents and others made of blue iron sheets that had been provided by the government to put up mud-walled shelters. The residents here were brought by the government in the year 2013 with a promise to be allocated a plot in a piece of land that had been acquired for resettlement purposes. However, politically connected persons had an interest in the land and demarcation never took place, and as such the IDPs cannot proceed to construct relatively permanent dwellings from the year 2013 to date.

In these two camps over 80% percent of the population is over 70 years old, sickly with old age complications made worse by hostile living conditions. Many of the elderly persons have lost a spouse and depend on well-wishers for survival while some of them have been joined by their relatives and are sharing makeshift homes. The nearest health center is 10 kilometers away and without a public transport system, it is almost impossible for the elderly to get to the hospital.

Children in this area travel 14 kilometers – 7 kilometers either way, to the nearest public secondary school, while the young ones trek 8 kilometers -4kms each way to go to school while many of the children that should be in kindergarten do not go to school. What caught our attention most was that in the two hours we were in the camps on each occasion no children were seen playing, instead, they sat in small groups looking subdued, a clear sign that the children were not having enough to eat. Sanitation is also a challenge with raw water being the source of drinking water and toilets are makeshift as well.

On these two days, we distributed 150 food hampers to the elderly, persons with disabilities most of whom are bedridden and vulnerable persons as well. These beneficiaries are very needy and can do with more support both in-kind and psychosocial support.

Our food hamper program was an unbudgeted, unexpected additional expense. However, the more that we realize how great the need is among the elderly and people living with disabilities, the more committed we are to keeping the program growing. We thank you for your kind and generous continued support.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

A sign that they were not getting enough to eat
A sign that they were not getting enough to eat
Kirathimo Internally Displaced Persons camp.
Kirathimo Internally Displaced Persons camp.
Some of our elderly recipients waiting patiently
Some of our elderly recipients waiting patiently
A makeshift UN shelter tent. Still home13 years on
A makeshift UN shelter tent. Still home13 years on
Makeshift tin & plastic tarp home
Makeshift tin & plastic tarp home
Some of our elderly recipients waiting patiently
Some of our elderly recipients waiting patiently

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14 year old head of household & one of her siblin
14 year old head of household & one of her siblin

Please mark your calendar! You can multiply your impact on Wednesday, July 15. Beginning at 9 am EST donations of $100 or more will be matched as part of GlobalGiving's Bonus Day. Join us!

Our only focus in this period of COVID 19 has been to donate food and face masks to as many vulnerable and needy people in the county as possible. Most of the residents in the outer lying area are casual laborers who are paid after working. With the current pandemic, the residents are unable to get employment and feed their families. Some of the families have been going to the area chief to beg for food and a lot have been foregoing meals. Springs of Hope Foundation's sole purpose since the arrival of Covid 19 last March has been donating food and face-masks to vulnerable families. Our target families are the elderly, terminally ill patients, persons with disabilities, vulnerable, and child-headed households, all of these cases are identified with the assistance of the area chief together with house cluster leaders. So that we can maintain order and be assured our donations go to the neediest, we will continue to do the food distributions at the chief's camp. Some of the cases that we have recently come across that touched our hearts included;

Child headed families- There were several families in these categories but the most vulnerable of all was a family of six. The firstborn being a form two student at a nearby secondary school. Their mother went to Saudi Arabia to work as a maid in January 2020, but she has never sent a penny home to meet her family’s needs. This therefore left, Irene, a fourteen-year-old girl, to step into her mother's shoes. Irene together with her five siblings lives in a tiny one-roomed, mud-walled house. They pay Kshs. 300 (US $3.00) rent which they can barely afford. Irene juggles between school and menial work to support her siblings. It's long since they talked with their mother thus they don't know how she is fairing in the Gulf and this clearly is distressing to them. 

Vulnerable families- The area chief also identified a case of a woman who is approximately 80 years, a widow who is ailing from asthma, and high blood pressure. The case is vulnerable in that, the elderly woman is the sole breadwinner to her six grandchildren. With her advanced age and sickness, she has been left at the mercy of neighbors and well-wishers to stay alive. The family lives in a rented mud-walled house in Mang’u area paying rent of Kshs. 500 ( US $5.00) per month.  The elderly grandmother could not manage to come to the pick-up location to collect her food hamper. This prompted the team to visit her home. She could not hold back tears when her grandchildren brought the food hamper to her. 

Kenya has continued to experience enhanced rainfall resulting in massive flooding. The government of Kenya recently announced that 203 Kenyans have died in floods and 100,000 households have been destroyed. In Nakuru County, families have been displaced following floods caused by heavy downpours since the 3rd week of April. The flooding in these communities has been blamed on poor drainage and sanitation with most drainage systems being clogged. Communities close to Lake Nakuru have been forced to relocate after overflow from the lake sparked fears of a humanitarian crisis.

 

My friend and fellow Rotarian Joab Okello recently wrote.
 
"Today, I made random rounds to check the extent of destruction caused by overflowing Lake Nakuru, the situation isn't so good. People have started breaking into abandoned flooded homes and stealing iron sheets, doors, and windows. Others have simply broken their houses to be able to build some structures at an IDP campsite. Wells and toilets have been filled and a tragedy is building up for waterborne diseases. People are no longer just worried about Covid-19 but this real enemy at their doorstep. Food insecurity and disease. We are indeed facing a triple tragedy."

 

We urgently need your support to keep life-saving food flowing to the most vulnerable in our community.
Borders have closed and supply chains are affected in areas most at risk. Please help us ensure that hungry children, the elderly, and vulnerable do not suffer the brunt of this pandemic.

If you’re able, please make a donation to our community outreach efforts. If you’re unable to donate at this time, there are many other ways you can support us! You can advocate for us by sharing our mission with a family member or friend. Even a quick mention on your social media would mean the world to us.
https://www.facebook.com/kijijimission/
In times like this, we’re reminded of how interconnected we all are. Thank you for being part of our community. Without you, none of it is possible.

Stay safe and well,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom
Founder/CEO
Springs of Hope Foundation

One of our students helping an elderly lady w/food
One of our students helping an elderly lady w/food
Elderly couple who had not eaten in several days
Elderly couple who had not eaten in several days
Elderly lady displaced to IDP camp due to floods.
Elderly lady displaced to IDP camp due to floods.
Nutritious food for a week. Beans maize & cabbage
Nutritious food for a week. Beans maize & cabbage

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Springs of Hope Foundation

Location: Big Bay, MI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Kijiji Mission
Project Leader:
Jennifer Hughes
Big Bay, MI United States
$44,688 raised of $50,000 goal
 
345 donations
$5,312 to go
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