170 vulnerable families in Amu Island with their children attending El-Maawiya Primary School have received foodstuffs worth Sh. 350,000 to support them through the Covid-19 crisis.
The children who are beneficiaries of El-Maawiya Development Group sponsored free primary and secondary education initiative that aims to ensure bright and talented children from poor families within Amu Island receive a good education.
Speaking to KNA over the weekend, the Langoni Chief, Ali Haidar lauded the move to support these families through the Covid-19 period as most guardians and parents with children in the school had either been laid-off or lost their revenue streams due to the virus.
He said that most of the children from these families had resorted to taking up fishing in a bid to provide food support for their families.
“The donation is basically a continuation of our school feeding programme, which we decided to undertake despite schools being closed,” Maliha Mohammed Ali, an El-Maawiya Group Board member stated.
She said that teachers from the school have also been undertaking home tutoring for the students especially the candidates in order to ensure that they do not lag behind in their studies.
The teachers are also being paid their salaries despite schools being closed.
Maliha further stated that her organisation is aware of how families are strained for resources and had decided to continue the school feeding programme by contacting and donating directly to the families.
“It is by these programmes that we aim to ensure that our students are not subjected to child exploitation either through early marriages or prostitution,” Maliha said.
“Child neglect has become rampant in Amu especially with the Covid-19 crisis and it is noticeable because there are very many children who have taken to fending for themselves through fishing which is unfortunate,”Ikhawan Omar, Lamu Chamber of Commerce official stated, adding that children should instead be learning.
He added that there was a need for more initiatives such as these to ensure better child development and prevent child exploitation.
Sentiments echoed by Abdul Skanda, a community social worker based in Langoni who called on the county government to borrow a leaf from the school and institute a school feeding programme across the whole of Lamu, to prevent child exploitation or neglect which he noted has been on the rise since the turn of the COVID-19 crisis.
By Amenya Ochieng