Mission HOPE to Kenya
Pictured Above: Samuel Ongoro , Nav Matharu, Osteopath (Operations Director), Joe Matheny , Simran Marwa
Updated Blog reports from our Kenyan Officers, on Mission HOPE to Kenya. April 2008.
On 4th February 2008, Divinity Foundation launched its Mission "HOPE" to Kenya project, aimed at distributing 400 Aid packs to 400 families in desperate need. Many have already supported us, join our efforts to deliver HOPE to Kenya today
The month ends with some good news. Former UN secretariat Kofi Annan has been in Nairobi leading negotiations and has been successful in getting both sides of the politcal dispute to agree to forming a coalition government. We hope this will now pave the way to focus on helping those who have been affected badly in the recent violence and facilitate the way to treat the traumatised, nurture the orphaned and help restore Hope in the hearts of people.
Today the Divinity Foundation met its set target of £4000 ($8000) for its Kenyan Appeal, "Mission HOPE to Kenya". The team are now in the final stages of preparations for the planned activity. Watch this space for more updates and photos of the Mission. Please be patient with us, we will update this page regularly depending on internet access while in Kenya.
Pictured Above: Divinity Foundation Kenya Team
Today the Divinity Foundation Team were joined by its volunteers in the task of packing the individual Aid Packages which will be distributed to displaced families. The task of packaging only took our volunteers an hour, this was followed by a great sit down lunch organised by Mr Rughani.
Divinity Foundation's team, Joe Matheny, Nav Matharu and Samuel Ongoro proceeded to Nyayo Football Stadium in Nairobi, where a regional football match was taking place between Tusker F.C. a well reputed team and the Mathare Youth Football team comprised of youngsters who live in the slums. Divinity Foundation was there to support the youngsters from the Slum, who won the match 4-1. It was the first football match that was covered live via satellite on the Sports Live channel in the USA. (photos to be uploaded)
Pictured Above: AUSI Student Volunteers load up the truck with supplies for the IDP Camp
The morning started off early as trucks were loaded today and a team of 45 Divinity Foundation officers and volunteers headed out to a camp for displaced persons in Degorete. People were living in plastic sheeting tents and sleeping on dirt floors. Many of these people were kiosk owners who had to flee their homes in the middle of the night...and have been living at this camp, trying to survive. These people only want one thing, a return to normality and help to set up their kiosks and homes once again. We offered Councilling to women, distributed Aid Packs, Sanitary towels and made a bulk donation of food to the camps kitchen. The people we helped today were humble, gracious and so thankful. One of the people we came across was a lady who was suffering with Aids, Hepatitis and TB. She was refused hospital help because she had no money to pay for treatment and was given a list of medicines she needed, for which she had no money. The woman was weak from not having eaten and in pain. We supplied this woman with the medication she needed, along with the nourishement her body needs in terms of hope, food and healing.
Pictured Above: Operations Director, Osteopath Nav comforts and assessing the condition of a woman who was refused Hospital Admitance due to no money.
Divinity Foundation donated bulk food to the camps communal kitchen and individual packages containing food and essential survival items to each family. We also supplied women with Sanitary towels and offered Trauma Counseling to women at the camp.
Pictured Above: Divinity's Volunteer Ishi Marwa counselling a woman recently displaced by violence. Many of these women had lost husbands and were fearful to return back home where neighbours from different tribes had attacked them
In terms of the situation here in Kenya. People are still in IDP camps, because they do not want to return to the location where they lived, as many have memories of their neighbours turning on them, or seeing family memebers being killed or homes being burnt. They are reluctant to go back to a place where they have so many fearful memories. One woman, had all ten children plus her husband killed, imagine witnessing that and then being told she had to return to the scene of the crime and live there...its a very hard emotional and mental journey. In camps, many of the children have NO realisation of why they are in camps, because many of them are too young to comprehende the magnitude of the situation.
We are currently brainstorming for sustainable ideas to help these people gain some sense of normalicy. A great scheme that is being discussed is "Adopt a Family" where $20 a month will pay for a family to be relocated to a new home and $30 will help set up a kiosk for a family, so that they can then start to earn money and build their lives again. Each family would be sponsored for 4months, giving them enough time to stand back on their feet. Please check our website, for further information of this initiative.
Do keep checking this page for more updates, the team are safe and working hard to be part of a solution for long term assistance and aid to the IDP and Orphan Crisis in Kenya. We have taken many pictures and video footage which we will endevour to load up here...when we find a fast internet connection! ;)
This morning, the Divinity Foundation breakfast meeting with Kenyan PM. Hon Raila Odinga was cancelled due to an outbreak of violence over night around the slums of Kenya. The team spent the day keeping abreast of news and planning to head into the slums the following day. We also spent the day brainstorming for sustainable ideas and negotiating with local businesses for more supplies and food for IDP's
Pictured Above: Dr Ida Odinga, Wife of Kenya's Prime-Minister Hon.Raila Odinga with Divinity's Joe Matheny, Simran Marwa, Samuel Ongoro and Nav Matharu, Osteopath
Today our team had planned to visit a camp for orphaned kids set up in Kibera slums. The kids have been rescued by Dr. Ida Odinga, wife of the PM Hon. Raila Odinga. However, amist concerns for safety, as violence broke out in the slums and many taxi's and buses were set ablaze by an outlawed gang the activites were cancelled. The team however met with Dr. Ida Odinga to discuss ways in which children who have recently been orphaned can be nurtured and helped.
Pictured Above: Starehe's founder George Githuru, Principle and boys of Starehe with Divinity's Officers Joe Matheny, Simran Marwa, Samuel Ongoro and Nav Matharu, Osteopath
We also visited the Starehe Boys Centre, founded for orphaned boys on July 1st 1959, during the Mau-Mau conflict. We were honoured to meet the only surviving founder George Githuru and hear his story of how Starehe started and how it is now ranked the top college for boys in Kenya. 25% of the boys who now attend the college are fee paying students, who are sons of some of the most influencial personalities in kenya. The Starehe vision was inspirational and Mr Githuru extended a warm hand of friendship and support to Divinity Foundations work and aims, of helping orphaned children in Kenya.
Pictured Above: Upto 10 families will share one tent. These tents are make shift flimsy shelter which offer little protection from Rain
Violence is still present in the slums and the Divinity Team decided that it was too risky to take our volunteers into a volatile situation where people were being set ablaze in vehicles and attacked with machetes. Divinity's Kenya Officers, Samuel Ongoro, Simran Marwa, Joe Matheny and Nav Matharu, Lawrence Andika, Isaac and two brave volunteers Tiberius and Morris, decided that they were all willing to risk their lives to go into the slums and help people. We headed for the Mathare IDP camp and no one could have prepared us for what we witnessed. There were about 800 families here, in one tent there were up to 10 families sharing the shelter and these families didn't particularly get on. There was a seperate makeshift tent for women recovering from Fistulas, a seperate Maternity ward tent. The stench was terrible, the place full of flies carrying disease. There were 172 orphaned kids here, who were so disturbed and hungry that when they saw us with boxes of biscuits screamed and cried for food and pulled at our clothes, literally pushing us to the ground. The scene was undescribeable and one that emotionally touched and disturbed us all. We also met an 18yr old boy, whose hand was chopped off by tribal gangs as he tried to flee his home and a woman, who gave birth just a week ago...named her daughter "Angel". This was poignant and powerful, for it showed, that amist such misery, people still had HOPE and a nation that has HOPE will always stand back on its feet stronger than before.
Pictured Above: Supervisor Ananda and boys of the Ananda Marga AIDS Orphanage with Divinity's Joe Matheny, Simran Marwa, Jagjeet Singh and Nav Matharu, Osteopath
The morning started off, with Divinity's Officers, Nav Matharu, Joe Matheny, Simran Marwa and Chairman Jagjeet Singh visiting a Holistic orphanage that has been set up my Hare Krishna Monks, the project is called Ananda Marga. The orphanage looks after orphaned boys, many of whom suffer with AIDS. They have built a small onsite hospital equiped to help the boys. The day starts and ends with meditation and yoga. The superior of the Orphanage was pleased we visited them and made a large donation of food for the boys and a large donation of sanitary towels for their girls orphanage in Nakuru. The Ananda Marga will be an orphanage that Divinity Foundation will be proud to support and partner with.
We then set off across town, to state house to meet with the Vice-President and his office. A meeting which went well.
Today a large donation of essential items and food was also made to the Mama Ngina Childrens Home, which looks after orphaned children. The Divinity team promised to visit the home and spend time with the children later.
A large donation of food was also made to the Nairobi Spinal Injuries Unit, treating those who have sustained spinal injuries in the recent clashes which has left them paralysed. We pledged to support this programme by providing volunteer Osteopaths to treat patients.
Today we head out to spend the afternoon with the children at Mama Ngina Childrens Home. All orphans who have been found abandoned road side. The baby wing currently has 8 babies under the age of 6months who were found at the gates of the Orphanage or road side. While visiting the baby wing, Divinity's Operations Officer, Nav was drawn to a cot, covered with a mosquito net where a little child was cooing..as she lifted the net, staring up at her was 5month old Moses. He was found a few weeks ago, left on the roadside in a blanket. Moses was such a happy and beautiful child. Words can not describe the feeling that moment or seeing such a beautiful child. Here is a stark reality, this child will one day grow up to be a leader or a teacher or even a doctor, part of taking Kenya forward into the future. The love and nurturance we pour into children like Moses today, is the love and nurturance they will pour back into society in the future.
In retrospect, these children are lucky, that while they are orphans, there is a place were they can grow up safe and loved. There are many many children, who are trying to survive on the streets, foraging for food, falling into bad company. There is a high incidence of girls under the age of 7 being raped by older men, out of a tribal belief that having sex with a young girl is a cure for AIDS. There are many abandoned and orphaned kids surviving on the streets who are being abducted and used in Child Trafficking, used as drug mules and sex slaves. These incidences are occuring globally in many countries and it is up to us, the adults, leaders, professionals and parents of today's generation to take an active stance in protecting these children.
Pictured Above: AUSI Staff and Students with Divinity Officers
The Divinity Team today visited AUSI, the Australian University programme in Nairobi. ALL our Volunteers were students and staff from AUSI. We visited the campus and gave thanks to all volunteers and handed out Divinity Certificates to them. AUSI students were so positive with their feedback, with amazing ideas and all of them wanted to continue working with us as volunteers during their summer vacation and after graduating from AUSI. The whole AUSI volunteer section was co-ordinated by Miss Juliet Mutunga, whose work was invaluable during this mission. The Divinity Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with AUSI in helping deliver Hope to Kenya.
We were honored to be present in Nairobi. Today marked a momentous day in Kenyan History, the swearing in of its first coalition government and the hopes of restoring peace and democracy to Kenya. Kenyans are now hopefull that solutions to rehome an estimated 1 million displaced people can now begin.
(a seperate photo album will be loaded on to this site soon, to highlight the journey...please be patient with us)
Mission Hope to Kenya, was an appeal aimed at helping 400 families, thus aiming to help an estimated 1600 people. Through the generous donations of local businesses and our senior consultant, Rajesh Rughani in Kenya and through the donations of our Supporting Angels, Mission Hope to Kenya was able to deliver the Message of HOPE by supplying Food and Essential Sanitary Items to;
Through your contributions, encouragement, prayers and support, we were able to exceed our initial aim of helping 1600 people. In the end we helped an estimated 40,800 displaced or orphaned individuals!!
Divinity Foundation is now planning phase three of operations, to bring in Medical Teams from the UK and USA to carry out their work in helping people. We are also in the process of setting up a Vocational Training Centre and Orphanage Support Centre to provide assistance and resources to help address the issue of children affected by the recent crisis. All of this work, would be impossible without our supporters and volunteers. THANK-YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH.