A trustee from an Isle of Wight charity is preparing for what promises to be a harrowing yet vital trip to the Kenyan Orphan Centre she has been supporting for the past nine years.
While trustees usually undertake an annual trip, it will be the first time Joy Mowle has not visited the Uzima Orphan Centre since the outbreak of Covid-19, the effects of which have been particularly devastating for many of the youngsters supported by the charity.
Joy, a trustee from the Uzima In Our Hands charity, will spend three months at the centre.
The main reason for the visit is to strengthen effective communication with the staff and to hear first-hand how support can be maintained at a distance should another pandemic – or other emergency – occur in future.
The pandemic has brought with it significant challenges for more than 300 impoverished youngsters aged between 3 and 17 that are supported by the charity with schooling, meals, and access to healthcare.
“The children are all in difficult home situations in which they are often the unwanted extra mouth to feed and during the crisis, where they were unable to be in school for around nine months, they suffered real hardship from hunger to brutality, crime, child labour and sexual assault.
“Though we have worked hard from a distance to continue our support during the pandemic, this clearly hasn’t been enough to stave off hunger and in many cases near starvation, or to prevent the other harrowing issues they have faced.”
Not only has there been fear of the disease – vaccinations are not available to the vast majority in Western Kenya – but fear of the impact of lockdown.
Donations can be made online, with 100% going directly to Uzima.