On the drive up from Nairobi you pass through sparsely populated hinterland and lush farmland before arriving at the banks of the Gura. Here beside the 'Usain Bolt of rivers' is where 3,500 people call home. Most live in cramped conditions and barely eked out a living in the local coffee factory before Coronavirus hit. Now the pandemic has increased the already high level of anxiety and strain in the village.
Tambaya is located in a region characterized by its high rates of poverty and chronic health service. It is estimated that around 40% of the total population is aged between 0-19 years old. With a traditionally high school drop-out rate many of the older children and teenagers made-up a sizable proportion of pre-Covid19 unemployment rate of 17.5%. This created a very difficult environment in the village as young girls turned to prostitution and boys got into drinking illicit brew and using drugs. When lockdown measures were introduced which confined everyone to their homes anxiety, alarm and eventually hunger spread throughout the village. That is when our team knew that we had to act fast to save lives.
We quickly expanded our existing community-based project. Our team carried out regular visits with deliveries of personal protective equipment such as face-masks, medical supplies, additional food aid and clothes. When each vulnerable child had access to enough food and adequate protection from Coronavirus, we started working to safeguard their mental health. While following all health precautions we ran group sessions to discuss the stressful situations they were facing and the best coping strategies to deal with them. This has all helped to reduce instances of self-harm amongst the children and teenagers as they are better able to cope with the stress and fear that continues to exist.
Find out how you can help with our next visit here.