Dear eduKenya Family,
Thank you for your response to our petition for support during COVID-19. Your financial support and prayers are being felt in major ways. Even as you encourage us with your faithfulness, I want to encourage you as we have just completed a contemplative celebration of Holy Week. Remember that the celebration of Easter Sunday is not just for one day a year. The resurrection changes our lives completely – it gives us the capacity to reject lives defined by ever changing circumstances. It doesn’t mean that we live in some fairytale that doesn’t deal with the day to day – it simply means that we do not seek out hope through what is going on around us.
As we’re inundated with good and bad news daily, I would encourage you to start your day elsewhere. Start with a simple prayer of gratitude for the cross. Each time you reach for your phone to read the next discouraging headline, say a prayer and follow it up by spending time in scripture. We have the opportunity to surround our circumstances with the Truth that we have been offered at the Cross.
We want to share an update of what is going on in Kenya, our goals during this unusual time, and what we are doing on the ground to continue to serve our families and live out our mission and vision.
What’s Happening in Kenya
- Following the first verified case of COVID-19 in Kenya, the borders were closed and social distancing and stay at home orders were put in place.
- Schools are closed.
- People are asked to work from home (though a minimal number of people are able to do that)
- Non-essential businesses are closed.
- In Nairobi, there is an order for a curfew between 7 PM and 5 AM. This is enforced by the police and General Service Unit (GSU).
- Non-essential travel into and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area is limited, as well as the coastal metropolitan area of Mombasa.
- Significant flooding has already been wiping out some staple crops this year. This was followed by a vast infestation of locusts, destroying farms.
- Unfortunately, an even bigger infestation of juvenile locusts (who eat even more) on its way.
- This creates the possibilities of major food instability, which is already an issue.
- There are currently 296 confirmed cases (14,417 people tested), 14 deaths and 74 people recovered in Kenya.
- To keep every one of our 62 team members employed at full salary.
- To assess the needs of our families through our eduKenya Grace Ministry response team, and provide help with food and assisting with medical needs for those most vulnerable.
- To provide continued learning opportunities for our students at home.
What We Are Doing
- We have created the eduKenya Grace Ministry to deal directly with the current issues. The team is made up of teachers and staff from each of our 3 schools.They are charged with serving the community and families by assessing needs for food and supplies and providing educational material.
- We are currently providing dry food (rice, beans, flour, etc) to 42 of our most vulnerable families. The needs are constantly being reevaluated by our Grace Ministry Team.
- We have set up a staggered schedule for parents and high school students to come use the Wifi at our office to download assignments onto phones (if they have that capability). Our teachers are using WhatsApp to communicate with families, to provide assignments and check in on them.
- We have provided additional phone credit to all of our staff so they can stay in touch more easily and effectively. This also allows them to engage our families and students
- Our Community Sustainability Ministry and Mshoni brand we are developing are now focused on making masks for our students and the families that we serve.
What We Need
- $200,000 over the next 4 months. Here’s what this covers:
- 4 months of salary for 62 staff
- Food for all families that in even more extreme vulnerable positions from the Covid-19 restrictions
- Emergency medical assistance for vulnerable families
- Phone Credit for our staff to stay in touch with students and families
- Ongoing required expenses such as rent for schools, registrations, etc.
- We received funding from the CARES Act to cover our 3 full time US salaried positions for 2 months. This is a forgivable loan (essentially a grant).
- Christ, above all gives us hope.
- The average age of the Kenyan citizenry is 19.5 years old. Age does play a significant role in vulnerability to COVID-19. The average age would decrease even more in communities like Mathare.
- While there certainly are issues like air pollution and excessive dust in Nairobi, a lot of the people in Mathare have had to, out of necessity, build up immunity to a number of bacteria and viruses. This would hopefully help if COVID-19 did get into the Mathare community.
Please Pray For Our Greatest Concerns:
- While COVID-19 is scary, our greatest concern for our families is food security. So many families function on a day to day budget, and day to day purchases of food. Closing down businesses means no daily income, which means little to no capacity to purchase food. Additionally, with the impact of the floods and locusts, the amount of food available could become a major issue. Minimal nutrition and potential starvation are of great concern to us.
- Lack of access to clean water and soap. Handwashing is said to be one of the best ways to fight COVID-19, but when you don’t have easy access to clean water, this becomes a major challenge.
- When the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control, many of the issues do not go away for our families. Food insecurity and diseases such as malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and outbreaks of cholera are ever present. Intimidation from local gangs and officials brings continued insecurity. When COVID-19 ends, it is simply one less thing on a list of many that lead to insecurity and emergency in Mathare.