Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families

by Raising Futures Kenya
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Help 60 Vulnerable Children Stay in Their Families
Children meeting up in the school holidays
Children meeting up in the school holidays

Hello,

Thank you for supporting our project empowering families to become financially independent so they can support their children to grow up at home, not in an orphanage.

We have been working with families over the last year to provide business skills and financial literacy training so they can set up a business and manage budgets and finances. We've given them seed funding to start their own small business, enabling them to become financially independent and not reliant on hand-outs.

Despite the challenges and issues COVID-19 and the lockdowns presented, the parents and guardians have persevered and worked incredibly hard to make their businesses a success. We are delighted to report that we have just paid the final installment towards the children's school fees and every parent/guardian was able to contribute 70% towards the school fees as agreed.

This is part of a staggered reduction in support towards the school fees over the course of the year as eventually the families will be earning enough to no longer need our support. We are fully confident that the families will be able to pay the full school fees in the new year. In the meantime we are continuing to have regular check-ins with them to ensure their self-run group support is going well and that they, and the children, are all managing ok.

This is an incredible achievement and a huge step forward towards independence and empowerment for the families. It wouldn't have been possible without your generous and dedicated support, thank you very much for standing by us.

With best wishes,

Kirsty Erridge
Co-Director

kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk

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Pricillah, her son Elijah and grandchildren
Pricillah, her son Elijah and grandchildren

Thanks to your generous support, the families were able to establish their small businesses in 2020.  As part of the plan to support them in becoming financially independent we agreed with the families that we would slowly phase out the support of the children’s school fees over the course of this year.

Thankfully after 9 long months of closures the schools were re-opened in Kenya in January which the children were delighted about!  Thanks to the profits the families were making on their businesses they had been able to save to contribute to the first school term fees.  We contributed up to 80% of the school fees and the families paid the rest.  We are glad to report that the majority of families were able to contribute the 20% towards their children’s school fees.  We will be slowly decreasing the amount we contribute this year as the families are able to increase their contribution.

Several of the family self-help groups have arranged group meetings with officials from the micro-finance institution Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT).  During the meetings, group members are encouraged to continue looking for opportunities to invest in the growth of their businesses such as applying for government tenders or development loans/funds in order to expand businesses and increase their income.  The group members are expected to continue making savings in their individual and group bank accounts so they can qualify for business loans with the bank and so they have savings for emergencies and school fees.  Members have reported a slow growth in their businesses due to the challenges of COVID-19 but they are committed to continue working hard to ensure that the businesses remain in operation and generate a good income to provide for their families. 

Sadly at the end of March Kenya went into another lockdown, all schools have been closed again and travel restrictions have been put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.  Our programme manager Winnie is in contact with the families to ensure they are managing ok.  In March Winnie also carried out a survey of the families to measure how the businesses have been impacting their household income so we will be monitoring this as the lockdown continues to ensure the families have all they need during these challenging times.

All this would not have been possible without your continuous giving towards the programme. The children’s welfare is our top priority, being in a financially secure, self-sufficient, loving family is the best place for them.  Thank you for making it possible for us to reunite the children back to their families, and more importantly being able to strengthen the family unit by improving their livelihoods to ensure that poverty will never mean children being placed in institutional care. 

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Anna and her granddaughter Grace selling sandals
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.

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James with some of his family
James with some of his family

Hello,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

Since March, thanks to your kindness, we have been supporting 156 vulnerable family members with emergency support to provide food, hygiene products and for some families we’ve been paying their rent to prevent them becoming homeless. The restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 meant many of the families of reintegrated children have lost their only income, with schools closed the childen are at home all day and are in dire need of support.  We’ve been speaking to all of the families and children on weekly phone calls to assess their needs and to provide counselling and advice to support them through this worrying time.

As restrictions have eased slightly, last week we held some social distanced training sessions on financial literacy and business skills. We are working with the families of the reintegrated children to support them to set up their own small businesses so they can become financially independent and support their children with basic needs, healthcare and school fees. Unemployment levels are set to rise significantly, particularly in rural areas and slum communities, so it’s even more important that the families can have a means of earning their own money to support their children.

We are acutely aware that many of these children were in children’s homes because their families had to make the agonising decision because they couldn’t afford to look after them. We are doing everything possible to support the families and make sure that poverty doesn’t separate a family again, and we can only do this thanks to your generous support. Many funders are closing their doors to international charities so we are incredibly grateful for your generosity, and for standing by us at such a difficult time.  

Here are some updates from some of the families you have supported.

James 

James and his family live in one of the slum areas of Nairobi county and are part of our Family Strengthening Programme. He is a casual driver with a transport company that closed down after the government imposed the country-wide lockdown. He is the breadwinner of the family as his wife cares for their four children, the family depended on him to provide for their daily needs. He says; “after I lost my job, I was so worried and stressed to a point I had to leave the house in the morning to avoid confrontation with the mother of my children because Covid-19 had turned our lives upside down and I didn’t know what we were going to do, I was desperate. My family had a very difficult time to cope with the changes we were forced to make and I had run out of money.” James tried all means to get a casual job but there just aren’t any available at the moment. 

When he received the first emergency cash transfer, he said that he was overcome by emotion as they were about to be evicted from the house they were renting and he had no money for food. He said; “the support that I received came at the time when I had reached the end of the road and I was in dire need. I would like to give a big thank you to donors who have generously supported the Covid- 19 emergency response.” James says he budgets carefully to ensure that they have enough money to take them through the month. He is now able to pay rent, utility bills and buy enough food for the family.

Beatrice 

Beatrice is a grandmother of three girls who she has fostered for the last 13 years.  The three sisters, Mitchell, Dorcas and Florence were abandoned by their mother after suffering from domestic violence and the children were left under the care of their grandparents. 

Beatrice and the family live in a single-roomed house in the Kibera slums.  She is a vegetable vendor and her husband is a night security guard.  Her husband lost his job and the only source of income came from Beatrice’s small business which was at the brink of collapse as she had no money to get more vegetables for sale as the majority of her customers would take the products in credit.  Beatrice says the cash transfer has really helped her to provide daily meals and pay rent.  She says “I am so happy and grateful for all the support that you have given me and my grandchildren all these years.  I would not have been able to provide for them during this difficult time as the business has also been affected.  Thank you for supporting my family”

Thank you once again for standing by us during this difficult time.

Best wishes,
Kirsty Erridge
Director

Beatrice with her 3 granddaughters
Beatrice with her 3 granddaughters
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Hannah with her four children who we support
Hannah with her four children who we support

Hello,

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 we support are at home with their families and not getting the free school meal they would have been getting. Many of the families we work with 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 to our emergency response fund, this week we have been able to provide emergency support to 23 families supporting 104 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. Four families were also at risk of being made homeless because they couldn't pay their rent so we have supported them with that too.

Winnie, our Project Manager in Kenya, speaks to the families on a weekly basis to provide specialised counselling support to help through this worrying time. She is also providing essential public health information to prevent the spread of misinformation which can be common in rural areas where the families live. 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 signs of being lifted at the moment meaning many will still have no means of earning an income to support their family.

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
kirsty@raisingfutureskenya.org.uk

 

  

The food Hannah was able to buy for her family
The food Hannah was able to buy for her family
Josephine with her mum and sister & their supplies
Josephine with her mum and sister & their supplies
Judy and her baby daughter
Judy and her baby daughter

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Raising Futures Kenya

Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @raisingfutures
Project Leader:
Vic Hancock Fell
Nairobi, Kenya
$35,806 raised of $45,000 goal
 
1,145 donations
$9,194 to go
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