Update during Coronavirus 2020

Well, here we are, I’m still in Australia…indefinitely!!! What amazing times we are living in. I’m able to run our project remotely, talk to the staff every day (for free), and feel relaxed and confident that everything is being run extremely efficiently by two amazing, dedicated ladies in my exile. We were indeed “in the best of times”, until March 19th when the dreaded COVID 19 arrived in East Africa.All Kenyan schools were closed immediately. We were holding out hope that universities and vocational TRAINING schools such as ours would be permitted to open again at the beginning of September. Last month the government announced that all schools, including colleges, universities, and vocational training schools are to remain closed until at least January 2021.Imagine? most rural families don’t even have electricity, never mind access to the internet, so at-home study is largely out of the question for the majority of primary and most high school students.We were incredibly fortunate to be allowed to keep most of our students with us. Not of course as students, but as young women in need of a safe house and protection. Some of the girls who were initially sent home by the local officials were permitted to come back, one at a time under strict two-week quarantine in our now unused little volunteer house. Most of the girls who graduated last month have also elected to stay with us despite the fact that we have very strict COVID 19 safety rules about leaving the property. They’re kept busy making facemasks and preparing food hampers to be distributed to the needy during our weekly food distribution program.The former students write that being in a position to give back to their communities has been very empowering.Our visits to rural communities have also brought awareness to our program. We have been made aware of several very vulnerable young ladies who qualify for and are very eager to join our program. Again we can only bring them in one at a time and put them in quarantine for two weeks. A couple of the new ladies that have joined us in the last month are,Jane.Jane is the firstborn in her family. Her mother hung herself due to domestic violence leaving behind nine children, including twins aged 6 months. The nine children now live with their paternal grandmother who is in her early 80s. Jane once worked as a housemaid as a means of supplementing the family’s income.Nancy.Nancy is the fourth born in a family of seven, her elder siblings are casual laborers and live with her parents. She left school in form three due to a lack of school fees and family issues. She explained to Martha with a teary eye that her alcoholic father used to beat and abuse her. She, therefore, decided to run away from home while she was in form three. She stayed with her boyfriend for two years and then again, they parted ways and she went back to her parent’s house, they reconciled and their relationship is okay. The two had a son who is one year old and under the care of Nancy’s parents. The father of her son is a caretaker in Nyeri and since they separated has never supported her. She has been doing casual work to support her child. Her parents were the ones who facilitated her transport and bought her personal effects for her stay at Kijiji. She is very thankful for the opportunity.

Of course, we have changed the names of the students to respect their privacy.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this year, it’s that together, we can accomplish anything.