While trustees usually undertake an annual trip, it will be the first time Joy Mowle has visited the Uzima Orphan Centre since the outbreak of COVID-19 – the effects of which have been particularly devastating for many of the youngsters that are supported by the charity.
Joy, a trustee from the Uzima In Our Hands charity, will spend 3 months at the Uzima Orphan Centre. The main reason for the visit is to strengthen effective communication with the staff and to hear first-hand how support can be maintained at a distance should another pandemic – or other emergency – occur in future.
Joy Mowle said:
“The pandemic has made us realise that we need to be able to communicate well without a visit in case this happens again. We had become too reliant on the assumption that travel to Kenya would always be possible.”
The pandemic has brought with it significant challenges for the 300+ impoverished youngsters aged between 3-17 that are supported by the charity with schooling, meals, and access to healthcare. Not only has there been fear of the disease – vaccinations are not available to the vast majority in Western Kenya – but fear of the impact of lockdown.
“The children are all in difficult home situations in which they are often the unwanted extra mouth to feed and during the crisis, where they were unable to be in school for around nine months, they suffered real hardship from hunger to brutality, crime, child labour and sexual assault.
“Though we have worked hard from a distance to continue our support during the pandemic, sending money to enable food to be circulated to families the children live with and launching an emergency appeal to help safely re-open the school, this clearly hasn’t been enough to stave off hunger and in many cases near starvation or prevent the other harrowing issues they have faced.”
“Thankfully the children are now back in school in a safer environment where we can keep a closer eye on them, and this trip will enable me to take stock of how our programmes are working and the ongoing support they need.”
The charity also runs training programmes and savings groups with the local community to help them start their own small businesses to find a sustainable way out of poverty.
“We continue to be so grateful for all the support we receive from our child sponsors and donors, to Wightlink for ferry travel and to all those who fundraise to support us. The charity needs your help now more than ever and any donations are extremely valued.”
Donations can be made via the website https://www.uzimainourhands.org and 100% of these will go directly to Uzima.
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