Tuesday, 09 March 2021

Gap Africa

Gap Africa

GAP-AFRICA is a Henley-based charity working in Kenya to educate more than 7,000 children.

We have a proud record of using 100 per cent of donations to support our work as we are all volunteers and absorb any costs, such as airfares, ourselves.

Three bore hole wells have been sunk within the area we work in. Were it not for these wells there would have been no water available for washing hands in the fight against coronavirus.

Gap-Africa has also used our reserve funds held in Kenya to provide the soap needed. This has all helped our communities but, inevitably, covid-19 is now impacting our villagers and schools in a big way and employment, particularly for those who did casual work, has disappeared.

Our community live in a very harsh, volcanic and arid area with the majority in poverty and many in abject poverty through no fault of their own.

They squat on other people’s farms, having been moved off gazetted lands when the Chyulu Hills National Park was proclaimed.

Our main urgent concern now is that of hunger. With even the little they normally earned now denied them, we have families with no ability to earn who are now suffering from hunger.

This is an extract from our field liaison officer’s most recent report: “The covid-19 pandemic has really hugely affected the Kikunduku Schools Project and the community at large.

“Things are no longer the same as it has hugely affected us socially, economically and academically. People have lost jobs and life has been made even worse with the president extending the lockdown. People no longer get their daily income from the jobs they used to do.

“It’s a great challenge as these people have got families to feed and they can no longer afford to do so.

“The situation is even worse with the closing down of schools, which means life is even harder.

“Many families here are not able to provide basic needs for their families and they depend hugely on political leaders who seem not to care much. It’s not unusual for families to go without food for days. It’s a real challenge.

“Socially, people no longer attend their normal gatherings because of the guidelines set down by the Government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“One is supposed to wear a mask whenever in public but these masks cost money and most families can’t afford them since they are poor, hence they opt to remain at home. Some can’t even afford soap to wash their hands and the Government doesn’t supply any.

“Well-wishers and people of good will remain the only hope as these families always look out for someone who can assist them.

“Academically, schools closed down in March and students are not in touch with their teachers.

“We are comforted by the hope that schools will re-open soon and students can go back to learn. It’s in school where these students access textbooks and science labs for their practicals and even teachers for consultation.”

I should add that it is at school the children are given a meal. For many children, this is the only food they receive in a day.

Gap-Africa is fortunate to have two international schools working with us. Our German school also works in our Kikunduku Schools Project and does amazing work.

Gap-Africa has exhausted its funds sinking the three wells in December and January, supported by Cox Mill Elementary School in North Carolina, so it was up to our German colleagues to step up, which they did very generously.

In August, a big meeting was held at Nzouni Primary School where food and other material goods were distributed by our field liaison officer, Georgina Nyamasyo, and our headmasters’ committee, to those in most need.

But this food will not last long. It is now up to Gap-Africa to step up and keep this food supply moving until some normality returns.

This is an urgent appeal to implement any fundraising ideas you might have. They have no food bank to visit, they only have us. We hope to raise £5,000 to see us through until the new year to provide food and basic needs to our communities.

We appreciate that this is a difficult time to try to raise funds but even the value of a coffee shop coffee will help and be gratefully received by the recipients who we have worked so hard for and for children who might not have eaten for days.

To make a donation, please send a cheque made out to Gap-Africa to Marcel Wagner at 22 Wilson Avenue, Henley, RG9 1ET or make a payment direct into the charity’s account at Barclays Bank, Henley, sort code: 20-39-53, account number: 33422186. Please reference with your name.

For more information, email marcel.wagner@gap-africa.org

Marcel Wagner

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