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Poverty bites with Covid job losses
It’s been a tough year for many in Kibera as employment opportunities have been limited due to the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. There have been significant job losses and casual work is scarce. For those already struggling to make ends meet, life is becoming unsustainable.
Brothers in need
Shortly after Christmas, Future Stars was asked to accommodate two brothers 8 and 11 years. Their father has had little work for some time and providing for his sons had become very difficult. He now finds himself frequently unwell and, as a result, passed over when a day’s work becomes available in favour of stronger workers. The boys were admitted to the rescue centre, as a temporary measure, to ensure they could remain in school and have their basic needs met. The hope is that the employment situation in Kibera will improve and the family’s situation return to its previous state.
No home for Victoria
When the schools were forced to close back in April 2020 and job losses began to be felt, some families decided to leave Kibera and join relatives elsewhere in Kenya in the hope of reducing their living expenses. One of the children whose lives changed in this way was 8-year-old Victoria. She was taken to live with extended family in a town about a 7-hour drive from Nairobi.
Shortly before school reopened, Victoria’s mother was informed that an employment offer had been rescinded and, with it, the first month’s rent on a one-room home within Kibera. Plans to return to the slum and for Victoria to rejoin her classmates were no longer possible.
More children in need of sanctuary
It’s not only the impact of an unusual year that has brought children to the rescue centre in recent weeks. There are, of course, many other reasons why children need the safety of a home at Future Stars. Whilst the centre is not a children’s home and does not encourage permanent residence, it provides refuge when children have nowhere else to go.
A girl fleeing abuse
Sadly, major child protection issues are not uncommon and, on the morning of January 11th, a 13-year-old girl fled the home where she lived with her father and sought sanctuary at Future Stars. The situation is extremely serious and steps were taken to protect the girl through emergency suspension of parental rights. She will remain at Future Stars, where she has attended school for a number of years, whilst an investigation takes place and plans are made for her future.
Fire destroys a family home
Two brothers: 10-year-old Ibrahim and 7-year-old Nickson, were brought to Future Stars by their distressed mother. The family’s one-room home has been destroyed by a fire that swept through a small section of Kibera. As a result, the family were left homeless and have lost the majority of their possessions. The boys’ aunt lives in a room nearby but is unable to accommodate the whole family. With Ibrahim and Nickson in school at Future Stars, it was decided that they move in to the centre whilst their mother works to establish a new home. They have a younger brother who remains with his mother. It is hoped that it won’t be long before the family can be reunited.
Crisis care pushes the centre’s capacity
Whilst most of the children admitted to the centre will retain contact with family and hope to be fully reunited, crisis care is vital to keep them safe, healthy, and able to continue their education. However, this influx of new admissions isn’t without its difficulties.
The main issue at present is a lack of beds that see more children sharing a single bed than is ideal. Because of this, the centre is in desperate need of additional beds to comfortably accommodate these vulnerable youngsters.
What is needed?
- 2 sets of bunk beds.
- 4 mattresses.
- 4 blankets.
All of these items will be purchased within Kibera and provide valuable income for other families struggling to make ends meet. In the case of the beds themselves, these will be produced by a Kibera craftsman.
In total, we need to raise £500 to increase capacity and provide these children with the sanctuary they need at this time. A new bedroom has already been created by clearing a little-used office at the centre.