In the Autumn of 2019 Sophie was invited to lunch by Tarun and Kate who were keen to know more about Awaken Love for Africa and to gain an understanding about the plight of older people in Kenya. After recounting her story and involvement with Awaken Love for Africa, they asked Sophie about the future and what her aspirations were. She recounted her experience of rescuing an old man who had not eaten nor drank for over a week and was dying from malnourishment. As a result we started a food-and-basic-needs parcel scheme for the older people in Ramba yet funding proved difficult, so after a further meeting Tarun & Kate offered to come to Kenya on a research trip.
During this trip we discovered that the majority of villagers rely on subsistence crops, particularly maize for their meals. In the case of the elderly issues such as frailty, illness or disability left them particularly vulnerable to malnutrition or starvation. Yet despite many elderly having children in close proximity these family members cannot be relied upon for support as they themselves have barely enough resources for self-sustenance. Access to health care is limited and largely inaccessible to the older population due to the extreme poverty.
During this trip we saw many elderly people over the age of 80, the common denominators were a lack of food/malnourishment, loneliness and a lack of finances for basic medications such as paracetamol!
As a result of this visit, project ‘Anna’s House’ was established with the aim of supporting the elderly both in Ramba Village and further afield. We are currently in the process of building a facility within the Gideon’s to take advantage of the already established infrastructure, where they can have a square meal, social interaction and receive basic healthcare. By providing such an environment we hope that the lives of these people will be improved both physically and emotionally.
We also plan to continue with our food-and-basic-needs parcel scheme, albeit slightly modified to Anna’s House and therefore we have developed an “adopt a grandma/grandpa” scheme. We estimate that a monthly donation of £100 per grandma/grandpa would enable us to provide food, basic healthcare and clothing for one older person. The adoption scheme can be subscribed to on an individual or group basis and is therefore ideally suited to a classroom of pupils each donating a small sum per month towards sponsorship.
Make a donation to Anna’s House via Donate.
In the UK older people have been disproportionately affected both in terms of the number of deaths and the impact of social isolation, de-conditioning and delayed diagnosis of other conditions. In rural Kenya the pressures faced by older people have been compounded by lock down curfews as a result of the pandemic and heavy rainfall resulting in loss of homes. According to Reliefweb’s report from 29th May, the Covid-19 pandemic is occurring against a backdrop of increased humanitarian needs due to back to back drought, floods and locust upsurge, exacerbating vulnerabilities across Kenya. As a consequence of Covid-19 imposed restrictions in movement and the heavy rainfall, maize prices are up to 25 percent above the five-year average. Women and older people are bearing the brunt of this adverse impact. Food insecurity remains a major issue with 74% of those surveyed missing a meal in May1.
We have seen many instances where older people have lost their homes and, due to the rising cost of staple foods, there is an increased demand for food parcels. So far over 400 donations of food parcels have been distributed since the lockdown in March. It is likely that in rural Kenya, more people will die from hunger and starvation than from Covid-19. Through your generous donation we can alleviate at least some of this suffering.
1 Kenya Key Message Update: Impacts of floods and Covid-19 drives an increase in the food insecure population, May 2020. https://reliefweb.int/report/kenya/kenya-key-message-update-impacts-floods-and-covid-19-drives-increase-food-insecure