Coronavirus Relief Update
Meet the elderly guardians of Catheline Nyokabi who is sponsored by Pamoja to attend secondary school. Catheline was sent home from school most of last year. The Covid support they received was used to buy food since her guardians are elderly and do not work.
We are so grateful to many of you who responded to our Covid and flood relief appeal last year and gave so generously! We thought it was a good time to provide you with an update on the Covid situation in Kenya and how the gifts Pamoja received have been distributed.
It is hard to provide a precise snapshot of the scale of the impact of the Virus in Kenya since there is limited testing and there are many challenges in accurately confirming where deaths are genuinely due to Covid -19. Official figures so far place the death toll at below 2000!?
What is certainly clear, is that many people Pamoja has been supporting have experienced a sudden and on-going reduction in opportunities for work, especially those who are casually employed on a daily basis. This, of course, means many are facing immediate challenges of paying for food and rent, plus other necessary expenses, like medical bills and school fees. Since the pandemic started many have struggled to get any work, so you can imagine the HUGE stress they are under to survive day to day.
There has been no significant help from the Government. Indeed, some of you may have read reports of how International Funds for Covid relief channelled through Government agencies have mysteriously ‘gone missing’. Very sadly this is a reflection of the greed and corruption that is rife among Government officials.
Despite this uncertain and gloomy picture Pamoja has been able to provide hope and extend support to the following groups:
Kware Care Centre – 21 children and their guardians
The children were all sent home to guardians at the start of the crisis, so we have sent money to these families to make sure the kids had something to eat as their guardians often have no work at all.
University/College/High School – 25 students and their families
Everyone was sent home at the beginning of the pandemic and have only recently started to return to school.
Pamoja Alumnii – 21 individuals
Many have not been able to secure steady employment (the latest figures show almost 40% of Kenya youth are unemployed) and so are facing immediate pressures to survive day to day.
Kisumu (Magina Care Centre, School and Community– 130 individuals and families either directly sponsored by Pamoja or needy cases in the local community.
Pastor Shigondi’s church in Kawangware in Nairobi – support for 30 families in the church. Many in this congregation have no or little work and so are really struggling.
We have been able to send between £15 – £30 a month to each individual or family. Most funds have been sent via a phone based money transfer service called Mpesa. This is ideal as we are then confident the money has been received and this allows the individual to decide which needs they face are most pressing.
This is Joseph Ambani and his young family. He is one of Pamoja’s oldest Alumni. He is a painter by trade but since the Covid shutdown he has found it very hard to find even occasional work. He is very grateful for the help he has received and has used the money for house rent, food and maternity fees!
On the left are two ladies who attend Pastor Shigondi’s church in Nairobi collecting their Covid support packages. A message from Pastor Shigondi: ‘Thank for your continuing support towards us as a church during this difficult time many people have lost their job and they are still struggling. We really appreciate for your prayers, love and support.
We are able to serve at least 30 people. Each receive oil, maize flour and chapati, salt, tea leaves,bar soap, sugar and rice’.
Here is a message from Kioko who helps co-ordinate the education scheme in Nairobi:
Hi Tim and Sheena,
I hope this email finds you doing well. I have visited a few families who have been receiving Covid support.
For the last few months since Covid began many families have been going through tough situations. Most of the families you will find that none is working they depend on casual jobs and due to Covid 19 there are no jobs . Most of the families’ biggest challenge was food and rent. There are only a few who do not pay house rents.
All these families they really appreciate so much the gifts they got through Pamoja it has been of great help to them all.
As I talked with them their biggest challenge is still food. They are still requesting more help if possible. If the gifts stop they will manage but still there are some who will take some time to recover . Their prayer is that things may come back to normal where there will be jobs.
They have sent their gratitutes to UK people for their kind heart they have appreciated so much for the gifts.
May the good Lord bless Pamoja. Thanks
The Government re-opened schools and Higher Education facilities in January 2021, and so far this does not appear to have led to a spike in Covid cases, but of course it is very early days!
The situation with regard employment remains critical, with little available work and no signs of any significant economic recovery. Tourism is vital to Kenya’s economy and this sector has been particularly hard hit. No one really knows when things might move in a positive direction but it is clear the struggle for many to simply survive will continue for quite some time.
The funds we have available for Covid relief are now running low. We are trusting the Lord to provide so we can extend support for as long as we can. If you are able to donate to support this on-going relief work we would be VERY grateful! We can assure you that any money given will be a genuine lifeline for many who are caught in a desperate situation.
It is hard for us in the West to understand the pressures of putting daily food on the table but this is the stark challenge for many we are supporting. I came across this YouTube clip which is well worth watching as it captures some of the challenges folks are facing in Kenya, especially during the pandemic.
In case the link malfunctions you can search YouTube under:
The Bridge of Minor Miracles (also search under Everyday life in Kenya’s capital Nairobi DW Documentary)
As Covid support is distributed we remind people this help is from the Lord who has moved His people in UK to give generously. In the end, we desire that God gets the glory not us!
Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Thank you so much for your on-going concern and interest for the poor and marginalised.