Helping Children in Crisis
We have been in regular contact with Rev. Samson Abuga and our Liaison, Dorothy Mogusu, during the pandemic. We can verify that the HCIC children/young adults are all doing well. They have been bored, but well. Keeping a bunch of teenagers occupied in a restricted space had all the challenges you might imagine. Food has been difficult to obtain. Outdoor markets were restricted from operating so for some items Samson had to go directly to the farms where the food is grown. Prices skyrocketed due to both availability and increased costs in transportation. Curfews and some restrictions have recently been eased but like the rest of us the numbers are beginning to rise and the future is uncertain.
The Kenyan academic year runs from January to November and the basically the whole 2019 academic year was cancelled by the Kenyan government. Last week grades 4, 8 and 12 were allowed back to school to prepare for their national exams. We don’t know what will happen in January. 16 of the 31 children/young adults cared for by General Church Sacred Care stayed at the church compound. Samson moved his whole family onto the church grounds to care for the children when the pandemic first started.
The young adults who are over 18 and attending vocational programs are not allowed to live on the same premises as the younger children so they are all living in various apartments near the school they attend or with extended family or families of friends. Samson is in regular contact with them. A few of them have the option to take an online class but access to computer equipment and reliable wifi makes this quite problematic. A few of them are back attending the classes that are available.
Losing a year or more of education directly affects the timeline of HCIC’s long term commitment to sponsoring these children to adulthood. Our commitment is to cover two years of vocational training after high school. Some of the older ones are finding part time work to help out and keep busy. When school fully starts up again and restrictions are completely lifted we anticipate a major re-shuffling of the personal goals the older ones have previously articulated.
Our biggest challenge continues to be getting transparent financial reports from the people on the ground in Kenya. We have hired a professional accountant, mentored record keeping, provided training and equipment to make purchases using Bill Pay (like Paypal or Venmo) but we still don’t have the level of accountability and transparency that we desire. Taking steps to achieve this is a priority for us in the coming months.
All but three of the “children” we care for now are in high school or vocational training. They really are young adults now rather than “children”. It is very rewarding to have been a part of the support system that nurtured and cared for these “kids” from the time they were little until now. Some have already successfully launched, many are about to, and the rest can see it in their near future. Those who have already launched still stay in contact. Three of them even live together in an apartment. Some of the career paths they have chosen include wildlife tourism, car mechanics, teaching, drivers, human resources, and engineering. The HCIC and GCSC staff are deeply grateful for the many, many people who financially support our efforts. May you and your loved ones stay safe and well in the challenging months ahead.
Kay R. Alden,
Helping Children in Crisis Chair