Christmas must be close because the Milele Christmas Gifts are back!
Instead of a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates this christmas, give a gift that could save a life.
Milele christmas gifts are either mosquito nets (£7.50) or food parcels (£15). You simply email us at email@example.com to place your order, put the payment through and we will deliver your gift to a family in Kenya who really need it. You will receive a gift certificate explaining exactly how vital your gift has been, this can then be wrapped up for someone here in the UK to open on christmas morning.
Our best ever year for Milele Christmas Gifts was 2013 – many of you may remember these epic photos of the food ready to distribute to families in Mtwapa:
Let’s make 2017 even better!
Place your order by SATURDAY 16TH DECEMBER to have it ready for Santa (AKA Rieder!) to deliver!
Many thanks to all of you for your support and love this year.
Another crucially important thing we did while out in Kenya this time was distribute mosquito nets to families in the area who had babies or children less than five years old.
Malaria is one of the biggest killers of children and babies under five in Kenya, so it is crucially important for them to all be sleeping under nets at night. It really is a lifesaver and at just £5 each there is absolutely no reason why every single child should not have one. Last time we did a mosquito net distribution and we went around afterwards to visit the families we were told by one mother that she had been really worried about Malaria that year, because of all the heavy monsoon rains and huge prevalence of mosquitos in the village, but since receiving the net none of her children had contracted malaria at all. A huge achievement.
The nets were donated mostly by students and staff at John Cleveland College, Hinckley who did lots of fundraising and raised £500 to buy 100 nets for families in Mtwapa and Mtomondoni. We also had 64 nets to distribute from our christmas packages programme – so if you bought a net at Christmas, this is what happened to it!
We identified the families to receive nets through projects we already had links with and through some outreach work in a remote village. We came across the village while doing home visits as it is home to Musa, Ann and Mary who all attend Royal Academy, one of the schools we are linked with in Mtwapa. We were shocked by the poor standard of living for almost everyone in this village. Every house was a dilapidated, single-roomed mud hut in a bad state of disrepair. Very few had any household objects to speak of and no mattress to sleep on. Whilst we are familiar with these types of houses as they are very common in Kenya, to see so many families living in these conditions all in one remote village was something of a shock. As a result we tried to stretch out the nets to include some of the poorest families in this village too and they were extremely popular and well received. There is clearly a very great need for mosquito nets in this area.
Every family who received a net had at least one small child under the age of five (and many had more than one), none had a net that they were already using and we felt that none of them would have been unable to purchase a net of their own. I wanted to introduce some of the families who received nets to you and show you their photos.
If you bought a christmas mosquito net, or you are a student or a teacher at JCC and you raised the money or donated to help buy these nets, be truely proud of yourself. You really have saved lives.
We are now back in the UK and wanted to fill you all in on the rest of our news from the trip.
One of the major achievements was the distribution of the food parcels to families who needed them in the area. As I mentioned in a previous post, we visited more than 100 families and encountered some very severe situations of families in desperate need. With 55 food parcels to distribute we couldn’t possibly make them stretch out to help all the families, so we squeezed a little here and there and managed to scrape together 87 parcels in total.
Each food parcel was worth 1100 Kenya Shillings (roughly £10) and contained 8kg of flour; 2kg of beans; 2kg of sugar; 1 litre of cooking oil and 2kg of rice, enough for an average sized family for around one week. I would like to introduce you to some of the children and their families who received food parcels.
Juma – 13 years old
Juma is a child who currently attends Mtwapa Academy. He contracted HIV at birth and is fighting to prevent this virus developing into AIDs. As is common with many children in his situation he is now an orphan since both his parents passed away. He currently lives with his elder brother and his wife, neither of whom have a stable job. Since taking in Juma, the whole family have suffered a huge amount of discrimination rooted in a lack of understanding and knowledge of the disease. They have been chased away from jobs by people who thought that now they must also be ‘infected’ and Juma is struggling to see himself as normal or to imagine a future life for himself.
One of the largest problems Juma faces is food. Such a simple thing yet it is causing him huge problems. As HIV positive, Juma is entitled to free anti-retroviral drugs to control the virus, which he is receiving, however the tablets are prescribed three times a day, to be taken with a big meal. As with many children in his situation, Juma is lucky to receive three large meals a week, so the medicine is unable to work effectively.
Loice (2 years), Saumu (4 years), Amir (9 years), Musa (10 years), Ishmal (11 years) & Swabrina (13 years)
This family have a total of six children living with their single mother together in one room. Their father abandoned the family some years ago and their mother, without any formal education or qualifications of her own, is struggling to make ends meet. Some of the children attend Rescue Foundation, a local community group providing free or very cheap education and day care for the youngest children, others attend the local government school which is overcrowded, poorly resourced and badly managed.
Without any regular income, the family struggle on a daily basis to put food on the table.
After their mother passed away due to HIV these nine children were left alone. Their care was discussed by village members and in the end they were divided amongst neighbours, extended family and well wishers in the area. Mohammed (around 5 years – pictured) is living in a single-roomed mud hut with his aunt, who is herself a widow with three children and no stable job. His brother and sister, Richard and Madiha, (around 7 years and 3 years – pictured) are staying with another aunt in a mud and iron sheet construction in serious disrepair. In this house are a total of nine children, the eldest of whom now has an 8 month old baby boy of her own.
Brian is a little boy attending New Life Kindergarten. Neither his mother or father are around, leaving Brian in the care of his grandmother, who is blind. In the same home, also under the sole care of the grandmother are Emily (aged 4) and Charity (aged 7). The girls are currently not attending school after being sent home to fetch school fees. This family is a very large one, with many children and grandchildren who have been left to the care of this elderly lady. Without a job of her own, and with very few people around to support her, she struggles to feed and care for the children, let alone send them to school.
As I said, there are 87 families who received food parcels. I could tell you 87 stories just like these ones here. But I think that’s probably enough for now. I cannot tell you how important this food was to these families. If you are reading this knowing you donated a parcel, please know that it has truely gone to a family who need it.
Clearly these parcels are a short term fix and most certainly do not even begin to address the depth of the problems for many of these families. However, it does give them a head start for the next week or so and a reprieve to get on top of other costs such as rent or school fees which have been outstanding and building up over time. To help families like these ones find a long term solution we would love to be able to assist them in starting small businesses to create a sustainable income over time. We have done this already with some of the families on our sponsorship programme who have started businesses such as charcoal sales and chicken rearing, and have found it to cost roughly £85 per family, depending on the type of business they start. If you think you could help any of these families to find a sustainable income by donating that amount of money, please contact me today and we can get started. My mobile number is 07950329398 or my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
We were lucky to be able to visit most of the families who received mosquito net donations thanks to the christmas packages and the donation from Old Mill PTA.
Many of the families we visited were in truely desperate situations. Tiny houses with just one room and very many children and adults staying together. No electricity or running water made daily life difficult for the vast majority.
All the mosquito nets were clearly being used, although many people did not have a bed to hang them over! Instead babies and children were sleeping on the floor under the nets. All the mothers were extremely grateful for the nets to protect their little ones, one mum told us she had been really worried due to the heavy rain Mombasa has had this year resulting in lots and lots of mosquitos. Malaria is rife in these kinds of conditions with stagnant water everywhere. However thanks to your mosquito nets not one of her children has suffered from Malaria so far this year. An incredible achievement – well done everyone!
Enjoy the pictures, they say more than I ever could!