A group of women from Thika’s Kiandutu slum has taken the initiative of repairing deplorable houses for elderly persons in the informal settlement to save them from hopelessness and the effects of adverse weather.
Through the Eden Centre group, they identify the deplorable mud houses being occupied by the elderly and mobilize residents to repair them.
They have so far managed to give more than 50 houses facelift and put a smile on the faces of the women, who have suffered for years due to neglect from the government and family members.
Some of the officials from the group, Nancy Karanja and Joseph Kimani said the poverty in the slum was unbearable, condemning hundreds of such vulnerable persons into hopelessness and despair.
“Most of the women have been neglected by their family members. They live in deplorable houses that leak during rainy seasons. Also, the slum thug often breaks into the houses making them live in fear,” said Kimani.
Eden Centre Self Help Group has equally raised concern that most of the elderly persons are suffering from chronic ailments brought about by depression.
The organization chairperson Eunice Mwangi said the unhygienic condition exposed them to chronic non-communicable and communicable diseases, without any help at hand.
For instance, Wahito Kibiru (88) lives in a deplorable mud-house making her vulnerable to the night cold. She also suffers from chronic Asthmatic disease and has one to take care of her.
Worse still, despite her condition, she cannot access medical care as local hospitals lack drugs.
“Poverty and neglect makes us miserable. The hospitals lack drugs and hope is running out,” she said.
Mwangi at the same time raised concern that over 100 other elderly women from the slums have been left out in the cash transfer fund for the elderly despite having attained 70 years.
She said the aged are living in deep poverty and mostly depend on humanitarian aid.
They are now calling on area MP Alice Ng’ang’a, who is also the National Assembly Social Protection Committee Chair, to ensure those who have missed out on the fund are enrolled.
By Muoki Charles