Its 5:38pm Saturday afternoon. Just had a restful day, from all my trips. I also just finished my second banana of the day and now having yogurt. How many out there would be spoiled for choice on what they were to eat? They are many right, but also there those who dont have and whatever they can have will add them another day in their life.
Allow me to share my story from Taita Taveta where I recently visited and saw what hunger is and what it can do to a community. More so I saw it as a responsibility to highlight the issue so that the government or the necessary institutions in the area to do something about it.
I am not a specialist in the area, nor do I have facts on hunger in Kenya but am well aware of what the lack of rains does to the most parts of this country and how such systems need to be efficient for food security in the country.
I have chosen to write this as an extreme case of poverty and hunger that we have faced in all our visits and I feel we shouldn’t turn a blind eye.
The school is Mzwanenyi Primary in the Taita Taveta Area very dry part of the country. In the last rains the schools roof was blown away and the government and District Education Commissioner office didn’t do much about it. The area is prone to Human & wildlife conflict, it so happens that a stray buffalo got to the school and no one could leave their classes till the Kenya Wildlife Service came to the rescue. On arriving at the school and chasing the buffalo away, they saw the bad state of affairs and decided to help a little bit and build one block of classes that had been blown off by the tough rains. Along that block they also build the headteachers office who at the time was sitting in a tent makeshift office.
Their problems didn’t end there as they were asked to write for assistance from the ministry of education. They took pictures and sent proposals but nothing has come forth to date. In this area the greatest problem is food and children rely on the school feeding programme. Most of them only get one meal a day which is at the school.
On our arrival we found the headteacher very distraught after she had been presented with a case of a father of 6 who had chased his wife and children outside their house in the cold overnight the previous day. She proceeded to call the child-welfare on the father and he was arrested. We followed up on the issues in the school only to realize that the lack of food was causing more problems in the area than we had thought possible. Fainting in class is a norm in this school and the headteacher can only do us much.
My main point which am raising is that I feel we are in a position to do something. Whether its Christians, Muslim, Hindi, Jews or whatever religion culture or race it is we are all humans.
My family, friends, Rotaract, Rotary, Global Shapers, my Church can we help PLEASE?
I have raised the concerns with World Food Porgramme (thank you for the reply, I shall followup with the local office) and am well aware the government took over the plan. Its just hard to think that the schools will resume in about a week or so and many of the children rely on the one meal per day which they receive at the school. The meal at home is hard to come by. Even if we begin “Talks& Dialogues” the issue will be there – They dont have food at the moment, maybe it will take a month to get help, or two or three? Who knows, maybe after a year is when the policy will be implemented or maybe after 3 weeks is when Amiran can help with a green house and a school garden WE WONT KNOW UNLESS WE TRY.
My suggestions is we fundraise and raise some money for at least one term and then pursue it with the ministry of education since this is not the only school with such a case around Kenya. We can then introduce a sustainable programme in the community via the large network of NGO’s but for now WE CAN HELP and start from where we are.
There maybe free education but without food learning cannot take place. Please don’t get me wrong that am not asking the parents of this children to be lazy in providing food but it is to assist them get out of the situation they are in.
Details from the headteacher on the cost of feeding that she sent me were:
- 323 students total school population
- 50kg maize – Kshs.2,000/- per day
- 13kg beans – Kshs.1,170/- per day
- Cooking oil 2litres – kshs.280/- per day
Total per day Kshs.3,450/- or USD 41
In a term its Kshs.207,000/- which is about USD2,435.29
Am sending to you all who know me in person and you can re-share with others out there who you know.
Here are the school pictures.