CURRENT SITUATION IN MACHAKOS
The elderly in any society struggle to maintain health, purpose and independence. This is no different in Kenya, although the struggles are multiplied by the extreme poverty. In communities in the area where we provide preschool education, the elderly are in crisis. There are no governmental or NGO services available to them and they are often forced to go without food and clean water. They live by the generosity of well-wishers and church groups. All of this has been complicated by the current drought situation experienced throughout Kenya.
FOOD PROGRAM FOR THE ELDERLY AND HANDICAPPED IN MACHAKOS
Adjacent to the Foundation’s four acre farm in Machakos, a group of elderly Kenyans are struggling for food, especially at this time of drought, when the farms are not yielding adequate crops. Any food received is often shared with young grandchildren and other family members. Many of these elderly are physically impaired in a way that prevents them from being able to grow vegetables or even prepare food for themselves.
In addition to the challenges of food shortage there is also a lack of medical care, clothing, and existence of poor housing. Those with HIV/AIDS challenges are discriminated against and struggle for the adequate diet necessary to accompany HIV medications. Local churches provide little or no help, since many churches in the area have become personal businesses. The monthly 2,000ksh ($20) governmental support for those over 65 years seldom reaches them or it is sometimes reduced to 1,000ksh ($10 a month) due to corruption. Many of the elderly are not able to walk to the government offices and battle for this meager monthly support. Therefore the target population for our Machakos project are elderly 65 years or older or with physical disabilities which prevent them from purchasing or preparing food for themselves.
We began this food program by providing nutritionally balanced food so that those who cannot find food, can receive at least one meal per day. We began with a needs assessment in the area and have approached a local elder to rent space which will serve as a gathering place.
The pilot project covered two villages of Mikuyu and Soweto located at the Vota Sub-location. Our initial count estimates serving 60 people who are over 65 years of age. Those physically challenged (not necessarily over 65 years) also formed part of our target population. Currently our food distribution feeds over 100 elderly, their orphaned grandchildren, handicapped and more.
Steps to Initiate Machakos Food for the Elderly Project
1.) Employed Local Social Worker for Needs Assessment
2.) Contacted Village Elder for Input and Permissions
3.) Contacted Village Chief for Permissions
4.) Constructed and Distributed Needs Assessment in the area
5.) Acquire necessary agreements with local community
6.) Rental Space for Gathering Space Secured
7.) Contacted church and governmental groups to help selecting participants
8.) Purchase necessary food items weekly
Below are some Feeding Program-related blog links.