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Food & Resource Rights

Kenyan family featured on 2020 Trócaire box are surviving the pandemic with your support

Last year her family featured on the Trócaire box, and now thanks to your generous support, Madris is able to survive the challenges of the Covid pandemic, feed her family and pay for her children’s school fees.

7 year old Joy-Faith washes her hands to prevent the spread of Covid. The home-made tap was made out of recycled household items. Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire 7 year old Joy-Faith washes her hands to prevent the spread of Covid. The home-made tap was made out of recycled household items. Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire

Madris was already facing so much hardship. Drought coming time and time again because of a changing climate. Daily struggles to feed her family and get them to school. Locusts attacking what meagre crops she could grow. And this was all before Covid arrived in Kenya.

Last year, Madris and her children Joy-Faith and Alex became known to thousands of households around Ireland. You heard about the challenges this family in Kenya were facing because of the intense drought, you heard about the strength of Madris to keep on going to provide for her family against the odds, and you responded with incredibly generosity.

When Covid hit Kenya in 2020, the Kenyan Government introduced strict measures to contain the spread of the virus. This included shutting down businesses, schools, restricting movement, and introducing curfews and enforcing social distancing rules.

For Madris, this was a huge challenge. Although the rains were better this year, she still relies on providing casual labour in people’s homes to earn enough money. With markets closed she wasn’t able to sell what little produce she could grow on her small farm.

Schools closed for an entire year. This increased the costs for Madris as usually they would receive free lunches in school to encourage them to attend school daily. Now Madris had to take care of her children from morning to evening and feed them.

“In the first few months, I was struggling to choose whether to buy masks for my children to prevent them from getting the covid 19 virus, or to buy food to prevent them from hunger” Madris told me when I met her this month. These are the stark choices faced by so many people across the world affected by Covid, where there are little government safety nets for people who lose their incomes.

Madris Nginya with her daughter Joy-Faith (7) and sons Eric (9), Alex (8) and Julius (13). Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire. Madris Nginya with her daughter Joy-Faith (7) and sons Eric (9), Alex (8) and Julius (13). Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire.
9 year old Eric washes his hands to prevent the spread of Covid. Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire. 9 year old Eric washes his hands to prevent the spread of Covid. Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire.
The home-made tap was made out of recycled household items. Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire. The home-made tap was made out of recycled household items. Photo : Denis Kioko / Trócaire.

Providing support, providing hope

Thanks to your generous support to our work, we were able to help Madris to feed her family. Our local church partner has provided some essential support to the family. We provided emergency cash so she could purchase food and other key items to help the family survive. We provided masks to help prevent the family getting Covid, and trained Madris in how to recycle local materials to create a hand washing tap at the family home.

These immediate supports have helped Madris survive the crisis, but we’re also supporting her for the long term, so she can help lift herself out of poverty. We initially provided her with 5 chickens and 2 goats, which she has managed to increase the numbers to 70 chickens and 11 goats. As well as being a source of food for the family, using these resources as a growing small business, she’s been able to sell 50 chickens. This additional money meant that when the schools reopened in January, she was able to afford the fees for her children.

“I want to thank Trocaire very much. You really saved me and my children’s lives. If it wasn’t for your support now we would not even be here smiling. God bless you” said Madris.

“I want to thank Trocaire very much. You really saved me and my children’s lives. If it wasn’t for your support now we would not even be here smiling. God bless you” said Madris.

Looking to the future, Madris is hopeful about 2021. She is planning to build a new separate house for her 3 boys since they are now growing up and need more space. She tells me that she is thankful for the people of Ireland for always remembering her.

Your generous donations to Trócaire’s Lent appeal has helped Madris and many other families around the world affected by the devastating impact of Covid. It really makes a huge difference, thank you.

This year’s Lent campaign focuses on people who are affected by conflict, such as in Ethiopia and in other countries affected by conflict, such as South Sudan and Myanmar.

If you can, please consider donating to our Lenten Appeal. You will be helping them to help themselves.

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