September Newsletter and Update
We hope you are all well and staying safe.
As our lockdown is extended for another few weeks in Melbourne we look forward to the days when we can meet with our families in person and not on zoom and hopefully share a meal together. The Directors of Women for Women in Africa are very grateful, that even in this dismal times, our donors and friends have given the families of Kibera food, accommodation, medical care and hope. The Primary and Secondary students are still home and learning online. As most of the students, particularly those living in the Kibera slum, do not have access to a computer or an iPhone, WkW has created computer support and some of the students can come at allotted times to use the computers, so generously donated by WFWIA supporters. Many Post Secondary students have been able to continue their studies online as the Universities and Colleges remain closed. WkW has 95 students either starting or continuing their post secondary courses in September and the universities and colleges have requested that all students have a laptop. With huge unemployment in Kenya this will not happen. Some of the WkW students have been given a laptop by their sponsor but there are many who will be taking advantage of the computers at the Centre and spend their allotted time there doing their work. It’s not ideal but it’s the best that can be offered. The staff at WkW continue to do a magnificent job offering the best support and ensuring that families have food, medical attention, often accommodation and of course education. They continue every day to say “Thank you” to the Australians who have made this possible.
We at WFWIA also say thank you. Go well, stay safe and lets hope we can celebrate Christmas together and also give the families of Kibera some Christmas cheer. Marguerite Ryan
Leonida Kwamboka reporting on Primary Students and other issues at the Centre August 2020
Primary section has a total of 93 children as per the close of August. By the close of July there were 90 children. Covid -19 is defining our existence in its own right. The normality of what we used to know as our ‘work’ has been broadened and redefined. It is a joy to see it expand but challenging when you really get confronted by the gravity of the matter. In the primary section, some of the emerging issues are medical, counselling, hunger, family support, development issues and safety of children in their homes with parents or with guardians.
The families seem to be really struggling to keep the children sane. Hunger is the biggest challenge and the parents and guardians don’t seem to get round it any sooner. The children sneak in to the Centre just to have meals, it is the hardest thing to see.
They are happy coming over to the Centre not just to work on their assignments but to have food. Food is cooked for them and they are happy leaving in the evening with a lollipop and a biscuit in their hands.
Education / Studies
The children are still at home. The prospect of opening is in the distant future. The government is thinking of reopening of schools to be in September for colleges and universities. And even that seems blink at the moment. However, we are not sure of how it will be but we are crossing our fingers to safety first.
The zoom classes are on recess until September. The children were given a break and hopefully they will resume their zoom classes in September.
The children now are working on their holiday homework. Rudan Junior Academy sent work holiday work to the children which really is great. The children are missing a lot by not being in school environment. Other than that, we are trying to keep them busy at the centre so that they keep on studying and get engaged. The centre actually is the only place that has space for the children to play and to bond together. Also the children are engaged and made to work on their school work.
Keeping safe slogan
We would like to thank all the people who are making sure that we are safe from the pandemic. Kibera is one hotspot and now we are not sure of who has it and not. The sink for hands has really added to our safety. We encourage the children and whoever else that visits us to wash hands and sanitize. We have plenty of water and soap. And we say, thank you so much for the help and such thoughtfulness towards our being and health.
Generally, the stay at home has made children idle and sadly made them venture into bad behaviors. For example, there is concern of children being in bad groups which might result to thuggery or death. They do not listen to their parents and there is tension in families these days. Some of the children seem to be involving themselves in drugs and the environment does not help at all.
It is a concern at the moment and we are doing all we can to get them counselling sessions so that they may be helped. We are teaming up with the parents to talk about the red flags when they see them around the children.
We have the food parcels and we are distributing them to the families. It’s really a happy moment when you see a smile on someone’s face the moment, he or she receives the parcel. We are grateful for the help and the continuous support. At the Centre they learn how to work together. The yard is cleaned by the children themselves. They are gaining skills for the future.
Support from our Sponsors
Many sponsors have helped us continue with helping the children. The children are fed and kept busy at the Centre. Some sponsors have actually paid house rent for their sponsored children. Some have been given money monthly to help them get through this hard time.
We are grateful for the support and help that we are getting from friends and all those of good will. The children are helped to elevate their stress, poor nutrition, increased exposure to violence and exploitation. Another thing that coming to the Centre has helped to curb is childhood pregnancies. At least the children are closely monitored unlike when they were in school and when they are left loitering alone in the slum. the children now are having overall challenges in mental development due to reduced interaction related to school closures.
Visits to the homes are done minimally but frequently because it has been noted that the children are also posing a lot of challenges to the parents. They do not want to listen to them and so visits are of essence. While at home they are uncontrollable. Getting them at their environment has helped in taming some of the waywardness of the children.
Through visits, rescues have been made and children have been absorbed to the program. This time of Covid-19 has really broadened the kind of work and reach out of Wanawake kwa Wanawake. There are a lot of emerging issues which have defined our existence and scope.
Counselling has also become part of the program. The children with issues are recommended for counselling and they go through it. The parents are part of the healing process because they help in monitoring and helping the child to reform.
Medical treatment is available to the children who are unwell. It is a task that is taken serious since some of the children are not able to afford medical bills.
The joy of getting a food parcel. Through the sponsors help this mum has started a little shop and she is so proud of it. I bought vegetable from her today. We are so proud of her.
The women were off from their table banking for a long period of time. They were really shaken by the uncertainty of the pandemic. However, they thought it wise to begin meeting once more. As per now the Centre is not open to everybody because of the directive of health which discourages crowds. The women are meeting in one of the stalls near by to do their savings. Their books are kept in the office with us for safe keeping. They meet on Fridays as they used to. We are all hoping that this time will pass by soon so that a new norm is chart for us all.
|We send our prayers, love and strength to you all.
We are there for you as well during this difficult time. If you need to reach out to anyone, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you all, we are so grateful and hope that you stay safe and well.