Anna and her granddaughter Grace selling sandals
We have continued to work closely with the families of the reintegrated children to provide financial and business training and a small grant to start a business. This gives them the opportunity to become financially independent as the majority of the caregivers rely on domestic and casual labour jobs which have been lost due to the pandemic. The aim of supporting the families to set their own businesses is to enable them to break the cycle of poverty, which is a major contributor of children being separated from their families as parents believe that they are better off living in the children’s than facing the harsh reality of being poor. The families will be able to earn a secure income and improve their standards of living and be able to provide quality education for their children.
Since March we have been supporting 156 family members, including children, young people, and the elderly who are the most vulnerable during the pandemic. The families received monthly cash relief to enable them buy food, essential items like sanitary products, masks and soap to keep the family safe and healthy. We also supported the families we work with who are living in the informal settlement in Nairobi with rent to prevent them being evicted.
In the last 3 months, the government lifted a few of the Covid-19 restrictions which meant we could deliver the financial literacy and business skills training to caregivers from Nairobi and Embu. After the training they registered as two self- help groups which enabled them to open a group and personal bank account. They have now been given their business start-up grant and are setting up their family businesses.
11 families who received their training and start-up business grant at the beginning of the year have been supported to adapt their business during the pandemic and to boost it once restrictions were eased and people could trade again more freely.
The groups continue to meet monthly and support each other with a group savings scheme for emergencies and to share advice and support in keeping their businesses going and for supporting their children.
Winnie, our programme manager, has shared some heart-warming photos of the families that have established their businesses in either rented premises, stalls or open markets like Patricia and her mother Anna.
Patricia is a single mother of 3 young girls; Christine in high school, Leah in class 8 and Grace who is class 7. They live in the slums of Kibera with Patricia's mother, Anna, who was working as a house manager in one of the leafy suburbs of Nairobi before getting into an accident that rendered her immobile for almost one year, sadly this meant she lost her job.
Patricia took care of her mother and the children through casual jobs like laundry or carrying bricks on construction sites. Her income was so low that the family could only cater for food once a day and pay their rent for their one roomed house. On the days that Patricia could not find casual work, she wasn’t able to bring food home. Once the schools closed in March it not only meant that the children were missing their education but they were also missing their daily free school lunch. A major concern for a lot of families with the schools being closed is safeguarding their children, especially girls who can be at extreme risk of being taken advantage of by men who offer money and food in exchange for sex.
Having lived in the slums for many years, Anna did her best to take care of her granddaughters while their mother went out to look for work but when it became difficult due to lockdown, Patricia called a staff member at Raising Futures Kenya asking for help. Through the Covid-19 emergency appeal fund, the family was supported with food and rent for 6 months until recently when they received a business start-up grant.
Both Anna and Patria had planned to start a fast-food café where they were to sell potato chips and sausages while at the same time make crisps and supply them to local businesses. Though Anna had experience in this business, due to Covid-19 protocols set by the government, it was not possible to start any food business without acquiring a lot of certificates from the ministry of health and the city council of Nairobi. They consulted Winnie and eventually came up with a new business idea which is selling plastic sandals. Anna, who participated in the training, is running the business while her daughter Patricia is working as a house manager in a nearby estate so she can complement the income that comes from the business to meet the increasing household budget.
In September some school years were able to return to school and Leah, who is about to sit for her end of primary exam, has been able to go back to school. Anna and Patricia are so grateful for the business start-up capital as they believe that the family will never lack food or money to pay rent. Anna prays for the Covid-19 pandemic to end soon so that she can be able to continue supplying crisps to the local retail shops as she continues with this business alongside her sandal business.
We sincerely thank you for supporting us in transforming the lives of these families and securing a safe, stable future for the children.