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.
Thank-you once again for the food.