Over the past seven months Children orphanages across Kenya and Uganda have endured periods of untold challenges and difficulties. From accumulated rents and bills, lack of food to struggling with keeping all the children engaged, psychologically, emotionally and physically. Directors and Orphanage founders however have shown resilience and creativity in ensuring challenges and effects of COVID-19 have been suppressed.
While visiting Estel Children home in Kayole, Lift the Children Africa representative was impressed with how the management had designed a daily schedule to manage the 46 to 50 teenagers that call the place home. Their day began with a morning devotion, followed by breakfast, then the teenagers participated in the facility cleaning exercise as part of their learning activity. Once the cleaning was done, they all broke into groups of their specific classes- where a school like experience learning occurred. A lunch break after which the younger one could have an evening nap while the older teenagers had time to play, dance and do all kind of physical activities. All the activities and exercises were properly coordinated by an adult.
Just like Estel, the moment has required new thinking, approaches and innovation to be applied by all children orphanages, to help shield children from psychological and emotional harm. For instance Huband Cradle of Hope based in Matasia Ngong town, approached the local police station which has a bigger field so that their children could use it for physical activities and play for two hours in the evening.
Swabur children home in Kisauni organized for the home to have a laptops and computers on which children were able to access online lessons. All around the homes, following an advice of Lift the Children, each facility designated a spot where well-wishers could drop their donations without getting in contact with the children. Although stigmatizing the strategy was a life for the children homes as it kept the much needed food donations coming inn.
William the founder of Kikambala Rescue centre shared the difficult experiences of other children homes in Kilifi County- he said one had been forced to close down completely after their only benefactor based in UK succumbed to COVID19.
As challenges resulting from COVID 19 pile up, Lift the Children has stepped up their support ensuring that they continue with the monthly financial support, they have organized various online meetings that brought together the directors to share their experiences and help them relief the pressure they feel each day.
To date Kenya has recorded over 36600 COVID cases, close to 650 have died as a result of COVID19 while over 19000 have recovered from the disease. In the most recent reports, the Ministry of Health has reported a decrease in positivity rate of between 4.4% and 6.1% from the highs of 15% in mid-August 2020.
Even though Kenya looks like to have successfully controlled the spread of COVID19, The risk is still high and the children homes are bracing themselves for difficult times ahead as they have had to bring back some of the children they had re-integrated due to increased abused at home.
More surprising is that some children homes have reported receiving children from the District children offices despite the fact that no home has received any financial support from government during the whole period of COVID19.
Lift the Children supports 55 children homes in Uganda, Kenya and Liberia by ensuring the children have a decent shelter, food and can access basic education. LTC targets the most vulnerable children’s’ homes located in slums, rural or semi- urban centres. These centres often host 10 to 100 children and are either run by individual well-wishers, churches or community based organizations.
You can support LTC effort by clicking the link on the DONATE BUTTON.