The Anglican Church of Kenya, Nambale diocese congregants in Busia County have commenced plans to set up a Sh. 50 million home for the elderly at Budokomi area in Busia Sub County.
The project is targeting senior citizens to enable them to live with ease in their sunset years.
The project is set to kick off in this month and congregants led by bishop Dr. Robert Magina have staged peaceful walks now covering over 200km since last week on Tuesday in a bid to raise funds for construction of the home.
Addressing journalists at the diocesan office, Bishop Magina stated that their journey began from Maseno Diocese, through Butere and Mumias dioceses in Kakamega County and ended at Budokomi parish.
“We are in a country and age where the elderly are not looked at with appreciation for the hard work they have put in to raise their children and build their country. Instead, they are seen as the weakest link of the increasingly morally degenerating society which has no respect for senior citizens and are either neglected or living in poverty, while other people take advantage, robbing them of what is left of their sweat,” said Rev. Magina.
He noted that the home for the elderly will enable them to live without fear and also have access to essential services like recreation facilities, guidance, medication and proper nutrition programs.
“The home will also house a conference facility, a hotel and institution for hospitality training of caregivers and many more,” he added.
While lauding the project, ACK leaders Isaac Wanyonyi and Rev. Stephen Manya said the initiative, once complete, will be a relief to elders who have been abused and exposed to societal vices such as neglect and torture.
“Older people should be helped with housing health services and reduce the need for residential care,” said Rev. Manya.
The Bishop urged the society to embrace the project, disputing the cultural norms that elderly must stay lonely at home as their families move in towns in search for jobs and business.
“But while a sizeable minority of people would like to move in later life, the practical, financial and emotional aspects of moving their homes prevent or delay them from doing so,” he noted.
The society spills out old people at 60 from its circle of attention the way employers do which is a very dangerous path. Because, although old people may not be as vibrant or even creative, they still hold large stakes in social life, the economic wellbeing of society as well.
“With most youthful people making their lives in the city, there are more elderly people who continue living in hardship, little attention is given to them or a nun is employed to take care of them creating family disconnect,” said Rev. Magina.
The bishop noted that, today a westernized system has robbed the society of these important linkages. Children wake up very early to go to school, come back late to answer homework questions, and during holidays, spend the time in holiday classes. Resultantly, there is no room for bonding, not only between children and their parents, but with their grandparents as well.
The church is now calling upon the well-wishers and the society to join hands and support the programme that will give dignity to the elderly in the society.
By Absalom Namwalo