County governments have been urged to form a special fund to address a looming crisis in children’s homes following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Executive Director to Multi-Touch International, an environmental conservation lobby Christine Wangari also called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to consider creating a tax exemption for donations to charitable institutions as most organizations the homes relied on had been closed down.
Speaking at the lobby’s offices in Nakuru when she donated 2,000 kilograms of beans and fruits to 10 children’s homes, Mrs. Wangari said while the government was doing a commendable job to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, most donors had apparently forgotten children homes in the fight against the virus.
Ms. Wangari called on County administrations to form special teams of public health officials who will be solely tasked with sensitizing the vulnerable children on how to avoid contracting the disease. Most charitable homes she said did not have adequate sanitation facilities.
“Thousands of children in Kenya are in Children’s homes that depend on cash donations from individuals, corporates and faith based organizations. These well-wishers’ businesses have been destroyed by coronavirus effects, the donors are in need themselves. And I am afraid they will no longer come through for us,” said the Executive director
She said most children’s homes cannot be closed down as they were catering for individuals whose parents were imprisoned, had no guardians or were orphaned, adding that county administration need to formulate intervention measures should Covid-19 find its way into the charitable institutions.
The respiratory disease, which broke out thousands of miles away in Wuhan province in China late last year, has had devastating effects on 82 peopple at Mission in Action Children’s home in Nakuru.
The home’s Director Catherine Jones said they had stockpiled food and non-food items after reports indicated that the locust invasion would result in food shortages. The stocks however, ran out with the persisting pandemic.
“We have depleted our stocks and we do not know how long the situation will persist. Most donors have been affected while most relief supplies and emergency funds from the County government of Nakuru do not factor us in,” noted Ms. Jones.
She said in compliance with safety regulations issued by the Ministry of health to combat spread of Covid-19, Mission in Action Children’s home had suspended visiting occasions where ordinarily well-wishers would donate foods, clothing, bedding, educational materials and even spend time with the children.
The facility is home to children aged between one year and 22 years. They are under the care of 16 staff.
Henry Kimani, a social worker, said most of the charitable institutions had exhausted food stocks particularly rice and maize, because donations from churches have run dry.
“Covid-19 economic shocks have adversely affected all sectors. Everyone is now concerned with the basic needs of their families living these charitable homes in dire need,” observed Kimani
By Anne Mwale/Dennis Rasto