The World Food Program estimates that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of food-insecure people in East Africa will increase to more than 41 million, a reality we are acutely aware of in Maai Mahiu.
In March, immediately after we closed our school, we launched a food program for our special needs students and their families. We started by bundling up the remaining break and lunch food, which we labeled with each student’s name, and left at the front office for ‘curbside pickup.’
We thought families would only need support for a couple of months; none of us could anticipate the crisis's extent. Ten months later, we continue to provide 18 of our most vulnerable Ubuntu Kids and their families with these food and supplies twice a month:
In the wake of the palpable economic devastation, our community desperately needed more support; we put the call out to our Tribe, and with those unappreciated resources, we distributed drinking water, ramped up production from our organic vegetable garden, and hired a full-time nutritionist to assess and support families.
Thirty-four families consisting of over 180 household members have received 18.5 liters of clean bottled water every week since April this year.
The Organic Vegetable Garden
For several years now, we have been growing vegetables in an organic garden on our land in Maai Mahiu. This year we worked to increase our garden's productivity. We hired parents who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic and introduced vertical gardens to grow more green leafy vegetables in a water-efficient manner.
A total of 12 families with around 58 household members, most of whom are children, have benefited directly from their parents being engaged in the garden.
With increased production, our garden can feed at least 300 families, with seasonal and continuous harvest vegetables.
Veronica Njuguna, a teacher in our special needs program, has managed our organic vegetable garden since the school closed in March.
We noted a worrying uptick of malnutrition during the pandemic and hired nutritionist Dennis Kithinji in September to address this. To date, Dennis has assessed 56 kids and carried out 21 home visits. He also spearheaded a sack garden pilot program to serve households desperately in need of nutrient-rich food.
The Sack Garden Pilot Program
Dennis has helped 12 households with kids in our neural health program set up sack gardens. We provided two sacks with 60 seedlings of nutrient-rich kale and spinach in each sack. These 120 seedlings are enough to feed a family for two weeks, and since these vegetables produce a continuous harvest, they deliver all the kale and spinach needed for an entire year.
Our Foundation team remains committed to feeding the community for as long as it takes, if you would like to support this worthwhile endeavor, you can donate here.
$ 2 = Drinking Water for 1 family for 1 week
$ 8 = Drinking Water for 1 family for 1 month
$ 5 = Food for 1 family for 1 week
$ 20 = Food for 1 family for 1 month