When her daughter died late last year, Mary welcomed the children she left behind into her home. It wasn’t the first time Mary had lost a child, or the first time she had taken guardianship of her grandchildren -- all 12 had been orphaned, and all 12 lived with her in a two-room house.
When COVID-19 hit Nairobi, Mary was faced with the hard reality of business closure and lack of income. Unable to pay rent, she lost her home.
Mary’s story is not unique.
GRAFCO, one of our partners in Kenya, runs a program for families like Mary’s that focuses on providing food and other necessities for children who have lost one or both of their parents. Ranging in age from 17 months to 15 years, thirty percent of the children in the program live in a single parent household while seventy percent live with grandparents. With food shortages and closed markets in the past two months, basic needs are threatened to go unmet.
Additionally, pastors within the GRAFCO network have been reaching out their communities to find their areas of greatest need. One community whose economy is dependent on flower farming saw over 100 network members face unemployment. A second farming community has been pelted with heavy rain and flooding in addition to the limitations on commerce making labor nearly impossible.
In response to all of these realities, GRAFCO has put together a relief package for each of these communities. With enough food to feed four people for up to two weeks in the initial package, they are committed to supporting their members in whatever ways they can.
This includes a place to stay for Mary.
Through GRAFCO connections, she has been enrolled in a government program providing extra funding for food for the children, has found temporary housing through a friend of the network, and is raising funds to build a three-room house to call home.
As organizations throughout our network pivot their support models to provide direct relief to the people within our network, one thing has remained consistent -- the strength found in partnership and communities that come together to share resources, make connections, and ensure the well-being of their neighbors.