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.