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.
Welcome to our monthly updates. I would like to appreciate the good work you have been doing so far and making everything run well. A big thank you to all as you have been doing a really good work towards Milele programme. We managed to complete the classes at Royal Academy and also made 12 chairs and 2 big tables for the kindergarten pupils at the school – donated by the TEAMS group.
The director of the school really appreciated your effort of supporting the school as most of the pupils are not capable of paying school fees regularly. He also wished to thank everyone through Milele program and the good work Milele directors are doing.
We have been also giving out mosquito nets to a certain village around Royal Academy most of the families had no mosquito nets. Through your donations these needy families were able to receive a mosquito net each. Around 61 families got the nets.
We all know how the mosquito nets are important mostly to the infants and the younger kids below the age of 5yrs. As for the coming month we are expecting long rains thus you did save some lives and saved the next leader in the society. We really appreciate your effort towards this program.
We have been also monitoring our chicken project at Shanzu and charcoal business at Mtomondoni (new businesses for two of the families on the sponsorship program) and they are all doing well and they are looking forward to starting to make a living using the projects. We also say thanks a lot for making it happen.
We have our elder girl Josephine she managed to complete her primary education and secured a place at secondary school very soon she will be at school. All our sponsored kids are doing well and for now they have started their end of month exam. Thanks a lot for your support towards us may almighty bless you all.
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 email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
As many of you know, over the Christmas period this year we ran a Christmas gifts appeal and many of you bought mosquito nets or food parcels to distribute in Kenya. We were really pleased with the response we had and we were really excited to distribute them while we were out here.
We had 55 food parcels donated, so we set about visiting many families in the area to ascertain which families were most in need of food and research each individual case thoroughly. We were expecting to encounter lots of families who were desperately in need of help and indeed that is exactly what happened. Every single family identified was in real need of food. In the end we decided to find some more money, using a donation from ‘Coterie Creative’ and an individual donation from Tina and Michael Wright to help us close the gap between the money we needed and the money we had. I am thrilled to tell you that we finally bought enough food for 87 food parcels. 87 different spread across all our projects – Mtwapa Academy; Victory Kindergarten; Rescue Foundation; Royal Academy and New Life School will receive food this week. Each parcel costs £10 and contains 2kg of beans; 2kg of rice; 4kg of wheat flour; 4kg of maize flour; 2kg of sugar and 2 litres of cooking oil – all basic essentials for most Kenyan dishes.
I am looking forward to showing you the photos and telling you a little about a few of the families but for now let me share with you the images of the food packed and ready to go! The sight of so much food in one place was truly incredible. It’s going to make a huge difference, so anyone who is reading this who has bought a food parcel should be really proud of themselves! Thank-you so much for your support, all across Mtwapa kids will be eating good, solid meals this week thanks to you.
Over the last few days, our main project has been to visit as many of the children in their homes as possible. This is useful in lots of different ways; firstly if they have already received a donation from us (many have received mosquito nets in the past), we can make sure that the family still have it and are using it rather than saving it for best; as well as taking some photos for you back home to see where your money has gone. Also, it gives us a really good insight into each child’s situation and how we can best go about helping them. It also invariably enables us to identify the families who are most in need of support and we have met some families who are really struggling in their daily life.
We have so far visited families with children at Victory Academy Kindergarten (kids aged 18months to 7years), Royal Academy Primary School (kids aged 18months to 13 years) and Rescue Foundation Mtomondoni (kids aged 18months to 15years).
One family we met today have a child named Munera who attends Royal Academy. She is currently living with her mother and two siblings, one of whom is severely disabled. In the same room live her aunt and her aunt’s two children as well has her grandparents. In total the family are nine and the room is roughly 2 by 3 metres.
At Rescue Foundation, we met children who are walking around 3km each way to school every day, without any shoes and at Victory we met many children who are orphans or from single parent families.
This is just a sample of the visits we have undertaken over the last few days, there are many more just like them.
After all the visits are complete, we will have the task of selecting families to receive the food parcels and mosquito nets which you have donated over the Christmas period. These will make a huge difference, so thank-you for your support.
On Monday we will be visiting children from New Life School in Mtomondoni, many of whom have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Keep checking the site for updates on everything we are up to.