Can you imagine losing everything?

On February 9th 2018, fire broke out in an area of Kibera adjacent to the Future Stars Development Centre. Despite a heroic effort to quench the flames, 80 homes were completely destroyed and families left homeless and destitute.
When you live hand-to-mouth a disaster like this is devastating on a scale that is difficult to comprehend.

Fire and Smoke over Kibera

Fire!

At 11am, thick smoke was rising from Kibera. Fire had broken out and was engulfing homes close to Future Stars. From the bypass above the centre, residents watched in horror as the flames spread out of control.

With no running water in Kibera, fire is feared as there is very little hope of extinguishing it with any haste. Also, with homes packed together so tightly, fire can spread quickly. What begins as a small blaze can quickly become a major disaster for large numbers of residents.

A community responds

Thankfully Kibera’s residents responded admirably. Alongside firefighters they handled hoses from the bypass to the affected area. They worked hard to control the blaze and to prevent its spread. Staff at Future Stars monitored the situation anxiously, praying that the flames would not reach the centre. You may remember that fire broke out at Future Stars just last year (read more here).

Despite the fantastic efforts of all involved the fire was not fully extinguished until almost 4pm by which time 80 homes had been destroyed leaving hundreds homeless and destitute.

Firefighters tackling the fire
Possessions of fire victims in the Future Stars compound
Fire Hose being handled by Kibera residents

Possessions salvaged from the blaze were carried to the Future Stars compound where they could be safely stored.  For those who lost their homes, these are the only items they have remaining.  For some it’s just a chair, or a pile of blankets, a pillow, or a bag of flour.  Many have lost treasured possessions and inherited items that can never be replaced.

Amongst the families falling victim to this disaster are ten children currently attending the school at Future Stars.  Thankfully they were safe in school at the time.  However, they’ve lost almost everything and been left homeless.

Possessions salvaged from the blaze were carried to the Future Stars compound where they could be safely stored.  For those who lost their homes, these are the only items they have remaining.  For some it’s just a chair, or a pile of blankets, a pillow, or a bag of flour.  Many have lost treasured possessions and inherited items that can never be replaced.

Amongst the families falling victim to this disaster are ten children currently attending the school at Future Stars.  Thankfully they were safe in school at the time.  However, they’ve lost almost everything and been left homeless.

Possessions of fire victims in the Future Stars compound

Plans for the Future Stars victims

We have received assurance that all of the Future Stars children have found shelter with family and friends nearby.  They will continue to attend school each day and will be dependent on the feeding programme at the centre whilst their families try to rebuild from the ashes of their homes.  It remains to be seen if all of these families will remain in Kibera.  It may be that the financial and emotional implications of starting again in Kibera are too much for some, and they may return to rural areas.  Sadly this usually means the end of education for the children.

Helping the Fire Victims

With 10 Future Stars children losing their homes in this tragedy, there is room for us to help.
The affected children will be reliant upon the feeding programme at the centre as their families struggle to rebuild their homes and their lives.
For a Kibera resident to start again after the destruction of everything they have takes incredibly tenacity. But it also takes finance. And with families already struggling with day-to-day living costs, the problems created by a tragedy like this can seem insurmountable.
Even small donations will go a long way to help the work of Chaffinch in supporting the 10 children, and their families, who have been devastated by this latest disaster.

Fire Appeal

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