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Latest news from the CHIKS project

by Claire Ganthony

Youngsters studying at the CHIKS project

During the first part of the year our youngsters and guardians had to cope with flooding as well as the Covid pandemic. Three guardians’ houses collapsed and had to be rebuilt, and small-holdings were flooded. Miraculously, Mama Jael and Elijah’s compound escaped being flooded, even though lower than surrounding flooded areas, so the greenhouse, chicken and pig businesses remained unscathed. CHIKS sent money for extra food for a few months, but these businesses really helped all the guardians and children to maintain their resilience.

Due to the pandemic, all schools in Kenya were closed in March. Teachers in government schools were still paid, but teachers in the numerous privately-funded schools were not paid, so there was widespread hardship amongst teachers, and many others who lost their incomes. The guardians sold some pigs in order to pay for three local teachers to come to Mama Jael’s compound to teach the children. They were employed until the children returned to school in October. The older children take their national exams in March 2021, and we hope they will have caught up sufficiently, as they do not have the internet and online resources that children in urban areas have.

Although everyone in the CHIKS project is doing well, it became apparent in October that there is a lot of suffering in the wider Aduwa community. Some people can work to provide for their families, but those who are older, disabled, vulnerable and not looked after by their families, are dependent on neighbours to help and often have nothing, and go hungry. With Irene’s guidance, the CHIKS group decided to send a large donation for Elijah to buy sacks of maize, beans and other essentials to distribute to the most marginalised people.

Many in UK are experiencing hunger right now and it is heart-warming when communities can provide free meals and food banks. This does not happen in rural Kenya. While the Kenyan government does provide small amounts of money for the rural elderly, it does not reach them! Our money is helping people who have struggled all their lives to provide for their families, and these families now have struggles of their own. The CHIKS group are enabling some orphans to have loving homes in which they can thrive, plus an education and a more hopeful start in life. Their guardians, working together for the good of the orphans, don’t just survive but thrive as well.

Let us know if you would like to contribute regularly to this project.

CHIKS group:

Facebook page: POPALONGCHIKS

Lynda Gray (secretary) 01773 857921 jimlynda.gray@btopenworld.com J

ustin Mansfield (treasurer) 07917 117091 justin.mansfield@btinternet.com

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