By Christina Stellini - Resource Development Officer
We hope this message finds all of you and your families healthy during these unprecedented times. This is a very difficult time for all of us, yet we are grateful to have food, shelter and strong support systems to see us through this pandemic. As the first cases of the virus were reported in Kenya about a week ago, we wanted to provide you with an update on the status of our own operations at St. Vincent's in Kibera and the effect of the virus on our community.
Since the government mandated all schools closed beginning last Monday, we have been mobilizing as quickly as we can to offer food and hygiene baskets to our families to help them bridge the gap until our nursery school can re-open. While this will mean an increase in food costs for us, as we must provide supplies to support the entire family, we feel this is a critical emergency expense during this time.
Our St. Vincent's families in Kibera live in shacks in close proximity to one another and many people are living with HIV, TB and other underlying health conditions. In addition, almost all of our parents are day laborers and will inevitably lose all means to support their families during this time. When our school is closed, our children miss out on the two daily meals we provide, and most families struggle to provide even one meal a day to their families under normal circumstances.
In addition to working on food/hygiene baskets for the young families, we have also been orchestrating the return of children from our Rescue Center who have been sent home from boarding schools. We have made preparations to ensure that we have appropriate hygiene and sanitation supplies on hand and are educating our children about the importance of hygiene and social distancing, the latter of which is very complicated in an environment like Kibera.
We know that everyone across the globe is feeling the impact of this virus and that the needs are great everywhere. We are ever grateful for the support we are receiving through GlobalGiving and for this week's GlobalGiving matching campaign, which will help us to offset increased expenditures during this time.
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St. Vincent de Paul Community Development Organization