COVID-19 Crisis

On Friday, 13 March, Kenya announced its first confirmed case of Covid-19.  As of July 12, there were 10,105 confirmed cases of corona virus infections. After the third case was confirmed on Sunday 15 March, President Kenyatta announced that schools would be closed effective the next day.

The closure adds additional challenges to our ability to best serve our students and their families – particularly because so many of our students rely on the two meals/day that they receive at Hands of Love.  It is also difficult because, unlike children in more economically stable demographics, our children do not have access to online learning.

We decided the best way to keep our students nourished was to deliver food staples to them directly at home. Later, we changed from providing food directly to giving families vouchers which they could redeem at a nearby store for food. As of May 22, we have given over 4,500kg (9,921 pounds) of food and vouchers worth more than Ksh450,000 ($4,500) to 130 families. Currently, we are offering vouchers worth Ksh2,400 ($24) to each family every three week.

In order to continue to educate the students while school is closed, we have created a WhatsApp group.  With the WhatsApp group, we are able to reach 45% of the parents. To complement this, we are making workbooks that we can deliver to the families and we continue to work together to facilitate the children’s ongoing education. In addition to this, we have distributed pencils, crayons and craft materials to all our children.

As many of you know, most of the students at Hands of Love live in one-room housing without running water.  Toilets are shared by 15-20 households. Given these conditions, the dictum to wash your hands for 20 seconds multiple times throughout the day is not realistic.  In order to address this, we have made and distributed 60 buckets/water dispensaries to families as well as 50 half-litre hand sanitizers, 672 pieces of soap, over 5,000 facemasks.

We will continue to provide supplies and content to our students and be very involved with the students and families of the Hands of Love community.