The violence in Kenya following a disputed national election is harming the most vulnerable of the population –women and children — as well as those battling against AIDS/HIV, according to the charity ChildsLife International.
Rioters attacked the Stara School in Nairobi, Kenya in an attempt to steal a food supply meant for children. The Stara school, operated by ChildsLife International, is located in the Kibera slum of 1 million people. School officials and older students had to fend off the attackers. Food shortages in Kenya are even more prevalent due to the ongoing violence which has destroyed many food markets and stores. The result is a vicious cycle of chaos and unrest.
The attack forced the closing of the Stara School and the temporary suspension of its school feeding program. This school feeding program is a joint effort between ChildsLife and the World Food Programme The food is crucial for impoverished children in Kibera, many of whom are orphans. Because of massive looting in Kibera, the food had to be removed to a more secure location until the violence subsides.
Until the school can be re-opened, ChildsLife is storing food supplies at an office compound away from Kibera in order to prevent looting. Food supplies from this office compound are distributed to mothers enrolled in its HIV assistance program so as not to not put them at increased risk of theft and violence that is still rampant in Kibera.
ChildsLife also reports other incidents of violence against families the charity assists, including the looting and destruction of the mud shack homes in which people live in Kibera. What little the families had was taken.
A tragic fire has also impacted families looked after by ChildsLife, including several mothers enrolled in the HIV assistance program. According to a ChildsLife representative in Kibera, “Several mothers were badly burned and one is extremely critical while attempting to save her children from the fire. They are now receiving food from the Red Cross but have lost everything. They need blankets, buckets and clothing. We need help….It is a crisis.” According to ChildsLife official Karen Foerstel, “because of the time and logistics needed to send these supplies to Kibera, financial donations are particularly needed at this time.”