Apr 26, 2021

The 3rd wave of Covid sweeps across Kenya

Destitute young mothers.
Destitute young mothers.

On March 26, the Kenyan government announced further restrictions in an attempt to stop the 3rd wave of Covid 19 sweeping across the country. 

In his address to the nation on March 26th, President Kenyatta is quoted as saying,
"Since my last address to the nation on 12th March, 7,630 Kenyans have been admitted into our hospitals for COVID-19. Yet before my address to the nation on March 12th, 4,990 Kenyans had been admitted. In 13 days only, our admission rate increased by 52%. This confirms the fact that a Third Wave of COVID-19 is at hand in Kenya. The positivity rate is at its highest since the pandemic hit us; the death rate is devastating by all measures; and the stress the pandemic is placing on our health system is unparalleled.
Based on experience, this peak will flatten only by Mid-May 2021, which is about 60 days from now.

That was one month ago.

The following is a report I recently received from our head teachers' husband, Ephantus Wachira, who's passion for volunteering his time and his vehicle every week to deliver our food hampers and facemasks to the most vulnerable in our county is both humbling and tremendously appreciated.

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Dear Jennifer,

The situation in Nakuru is very tough especially for those living in the slums. Many are going without food and other essentials for days at a time. Our government has no plans to alleviate the situation and as such people have been left to survive the best way they can.

Working with the village elders and community leaders the plan going forward is to do several stops with no more than 15 beneficiaries gathering in one place to receive our food hampers as per the government directive. Since we are dealing with beneficiaries at the lowest level of the pyramid- elderly & persons with disabiiities, they do not push or fight over the food hampers.

Kijiji Mission has become a reliable partner to the vulnerable communities and they have a lot of faith in our work. At every meeting we clearly state that the donations are from Kijiji Mission and also explain to them the good work that Kijiji Mission is doing with the teenage girls in need of a second chance in life.

Last week during the food hampers distribution a lady stood up in the gathering after I had explained the work being done by Kijiji Mission and confirmed to the over 90 persons gathered that indeed it is true, a destitute girl she had rescued was currently enrolled in our empowerment program at Kijiji Mission. The applause was humbling to me and made me realize that some small acts that we do can mean so much and be life changing to others.

Kijiji Mission has also been applauded by beneficiaries due to the humane treatment and dignity accorded to them in its Covid19 response intervention both in the field and during callback by community leaders seeking assistance for needy teenage girls in their areas. We shall continue to be good ambassadors and endeavor to bring lasting change to the young women coming to Kijiji Mission while also making life bearable for the community they leave behind.

Sincerely,

Ephantus Wachira

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Sixty days! This will be devastating for many Kenyan girls, who lost 9 months of school attendance last year. The additional minimum 2 months at home will mean that many girls will never return to school due mainly to lack of school fees and inability to catch up, forcing them into early marriage.
Experts worry the pandemic could roll back decades of progress on gender equality and girls' education.

Fortunately for our young women, even though we're a vocational training school, the authorities did not order us to send our young women home. Instead, they were very agreeable to us having the students make facemasks to be given out to vulnerable families who could not afford to purchase them and package our 100 plus food hampers every week. 

It simply would not be possible for us to reach so many desperately needy families without your very generous support. 

With thanks and Blessings,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom 

Recipients of last weeks food hamper program.
Recipients of last weeks food hamper program.
Our focus was single moms,
Our focus was single moms,
the elderly,
the elderly,
and people living will illness and disabilities.
and people living will illness and disabilities.
Recipients also received much needed facemasks.
Recipients also received much needed facemasks.

Links:

Apr 26, 2021

As the 3rd wave of Corona virus sweeps across Kenya we are faced with another lockdown.

Destitute young mothers.
Destitute young mothers.


On March 26, the Kenyan government announced further restrictions in an attempt to stop the 3rd wave of Covid 19 sweeping across the country. 
In his address to the nation on March 26th, President Kenyatta is quoted as saying,
"Since my last address to the nation on 12th March, 7,630 Kenyans have been admitted into our hospitals for COVID-19. Yet before my address to the nation on March 12th, 4,990 Kenyans had been admitted. In 13 days only, our admission rate increased by 52%. This confirms the fact that a Third Wave of COVID-19 is at hand in Kenya. The positivity rate is at its highest since the pandemic hit us; the death rate is devastating by all measures; and the stress the pandemic is placing on our health system is unparalleled.
Based on experience, this peak will flatten only by Mid-May 2021, which is about 60 days from now.

THAT WAS ONE MONTH AGO!

The following is a report I recently received from our head teachers' husband, Ephantus Wachira, who's passion for volunteering his time and his vehicle every week to deliver our food hampers and facemasks to the most vulnerable in our county is both humbling and tremendously appreaciated.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Jennifer,

The situation in Nakuru is very tough especially for those living in the slums. Many are going without food and other essentials for days at a time. Our government has no plans to alleviate the situation and as such people have been left to survive the best way they can.

Working with the village elders and community leaders the plan going forward is to do several stops with no more than 15 beneficiaries gathering in one place to receive our food hampers as per the government directive. Since we are dealing with beneficiaries at the lowest level of the pyramid- elderly & persons with disabilities; they do not push or fight over the food hampers.

Kijiji Mission has become a reliable partner to the vulnerable communities and they have a lot of faith in our work. At every meeting we clearly state that the donations are from Kijiji Mission and also explain to them the good work that Kijiji Mission is doing with the teenage girls in need of a second chance in life.

Last week during the food hampers distribution a lady stood up in the gathering after I had explained the work being done by Kijiji Mission and confirmed to the over 90 persons gathered that indeed it is true, a destitute girl she had rescued was currently enrolled in our empowerment program at Kijiji Mission. The applause was humbling to me and made me realize that some small acts that we do can mean so much and be life changing to others.

Kijiji Mission has also been applauded by beneficiaries due to the humane treatment and dignity accorded to them in its Covid19 response intervention both in the field and during callback by community leaders seeking assistance for needy teenage girls in their areas. We shall continue to be good ambassadors and endeavor to bring lasting change to the young women coming to Kijiji Mission while also making life bearable for the community they leave behind.

Sincerely,

Ephantus Wachira

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sixty days! This will be devastating for many Kenyan girls, who lost 9 months of school attendance last year. The additional minimum 2 months at home will mean that many girls will never return to school due mainly to lack of school fees and inability to catch up, forcing them into early marriage.
Experts worry the pandemic could roll back decades of progress on gender equality and girls' education.

Fortunately for our young women, even though we're a vocational training school, the authorities did not order us to send our young women home. Instead, they were very agreeable to us having the students make facemasks to be given out to vulnerable families who could not afford to purchase them and package our 100 plus food hampers every week. 

It simply would not be possible for us to reach so many desperately needy families without your very generous support. 

With thanks and Blessings,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom 

Recipients of our weekly food distribution program
Recipients of our weekly food distribution program
Last week we mostly focused on single moms
Last week we mostly focused on single moms
The elderly
The elderly
sick and disabled.
sick and disabled.
We also gave out free facemasks to every family.
We also gave out free facemasks to every family.

Links:

Mar 25, 2021

For all of us, 2020 has been a year like no other.

Children at our food hamper distribution last week
Children at our food hamper distribution last week

On March 11th 2020 the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic—and turned all of our lives upside down. One year ago, a hug went from a warm greeting to a health hazard. We were forced to separate from friends and family; tragically, some of us lost friends and family.

The first case of Covid 19 was detected in Kenya on March 13th. The government immediately sprang into action, closing all schools, small shops, open markets, factories and basically any means of employment where the wage earner was surviving on a bare minimum salary to begin with, and no backup savings. Often, if a son or daughter had a job in one of the larger cities, money was sent home to elderly parents each month to enable them to pay for the minimum essentials of food and shelter.

Being a school, we were told to close Kijiji Mission and send all of our students’ home to their overcrowded slums. Fortunately, we were able to convince the area officials to let most of our students stay with us, where they would be safe. We just weren't allowed to function as a school, meaning that Martha could no longer follow her curriculum.

Not a problem! There was an immediate need for facemasks. So, we got to work making facemasks to be given out to anyone in the community who couldn't afford to purchase one.

 With the help of local Lions Club, Rotary, Rotaract Club and local small NGO's we were able to get thousands of facemasks out to the most vulnerable in our community as quickly as possible.

Within a very short time it became obvious that women who relied on a few dollars a day to feed their children by doing washing, housework or selling in the markets had nothing to feed their families. As soon as we were out of our two-week quarantine period at the end of March, we did our first food hamper distribution program, and we've been doing them every week ever since.

Our focus is the elderly, child headed households, single female headed households and people living with disabilities. One valuable lesson that has come out of our journey through 2020 is that this segment of the population will need our assistance long after the "new normal" sets in. Martha and Ephantus have committed themselves to doing the food distribution on weekends for as long as Springs of Hope Foundation can afford to provide the food and a small petrol allowance for Ephantus' donated vehicle.

Last weekend we were able to distribute 190 food hampers to the elderly and people living with disabilities. Each hamper contains enough food to feed a family of four for two weeks.

On most food distribution occasions we are able to do more than provide much needed food. We usually come across situations where the family needs additional assistance or counseling.

For example, recently we met a young mother of two boys were both born blind. Ephantus was able to assist their mother by getting them enrolled into a school in Nakuru that caters to the special needs of blind children. Something their single mother would never have known how to go about doing.

Finally, on September 1st we were able to bring in new students. Primary and high schools were still closed, but as a vocational training school Kijiji Mission was able to begin teaching again. We'd built up a backlog of very needy women who were eager to join our 12-month program. Most had been recommended by the area chiefs who we met when doing our food distribution program. Unfortunately, we can only bring them in one at a time, placing them in our now unused volunteer house for a two-week quarantine period. We've been admitting new students for the past six months and we still have women on the waiting list.

At last, the students who began their 12-month training with us in January 2020 will be graduating at the end of this month. Normally graduation is a huge celebration. Families often hire a minivan to bring the many family members who want to be part of their graduation ceremony.

Sadly, like the last graduation ceremony in August 2020, only the students and staff will be able to celebrate their many accomplishments and personal sacrifices during the past 16 months.

Thank you for being part of our unexpected, unpredictable journey. During the past 12 months we've learned that we're capable of doing many things when called to serve. Such as instantly pivoting from being a vocational training school to a mass production facility. By the way, the girls loved being in a position to give back to their communities, and often worked on the facemasks through their lunch break and on weekends.

We've learned so much about the unaddressed needs of the elderly and people living with disabilities. During the past 12 months, because of your generous support we've been able to assist in our modest way. We are committed to continuing with the food program, and hopefully seeing it grow.

But, most importantly 2020 has shown us all that, when the going gets tough, the very best in everyone comes out.  Martha, Ephantus, Beryl, and our students did an outstanding job of getting everyone through a very stressful 12 months.

My huge gratitude and thanks go out to our team in Kenya and to our generous supporters all over the world who make it all possible,

 

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Hughes-Bystrom

Elderly recipients of our food hamper program
Elderly recipients of our food hamper program
New students becoming familiar with their machines
New students becoming familiar with their machines
New students learning how to draft a pattern
New students learning how to draft a pattern

Links:

 
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