The emergence of COVID exacerbated the level of poverty and hunger in Kibera. Many residents who were casual workers such as gardeners, cooks, baby sitters, security guards, porters, house helps, social workers, untrained teachers, and volunteers within and outside the slum have been rendered jobless.
The majority of these jobs were handled by the youth who make 70% of Kibera’s population. Those who have been running small businesses such as barbers, food kiosks, water vendors, have reduced cash flow because the residents no longer have income to pay for these services and goods.
When you stop giving and offering something to the rest of the world, it’s time to turn out the lights.
― George Burns
Many untrained teachers in the iconic Kibera community schools offering education to the children of Kibera have lost their source of income since most schools have been closed. Lack of sources of income has put pressure on the youth resulting into increased level of robbery and violence. Cases of rape and defilement are on the increase. More often girls and women are falling victim to gender based violence within their families and in the community.
The youth are no longer concerned with the future. They have become obsessed with the day’s hunger. COVID-19 has muzzled the youth voice and reasoning limiting them to the abuse of drugs to divert them from idleness. The level of unwanted pregnancies is going to rise with the resultant consequences of back streets abortions with its inherent dangers of deaths. This is due to the fact that, girls are selling sex for money so as feed their children. They continue to engage in sex hence increasing their vulnerability to contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV or even getting subsequent premature pregnancies.
Out of the 160 youth who benefited from our apprentice trainings, 112 were successfully absorbed within their establishments. 23 managed to start their own small businesses. Unfortunately, due to the COVID, 98 youth who had been absorbed in different establishments have all been dropped because these enterprises can no longer afford pay them the small wages for their services. Currently, only 4 out of the 23 who had started doing their business are still running their businesses. It cannot be illustrated any further that, the current COVID pandemic has seen thousands of families in Kibera run out of food supplies.
Kibera Hamlets has reached out to 110 youth headed-families with food rations depleting the food we had in our stores for our pupils.
We have also provided water supply for the community and provided hand washing stations.
Unfortunately, more families are falling in the vulnerable families bracket each day hence in dire need of food rations. Kibera hamlets hopes that more partners will come on board to lend a hand in providing the immediate need for the food supplies as the organization seeks long-term solution of combating the impact of the COVID on the community and on our organization.