Many of us are feeling it: this year has been filled with loss. Plans have been cancelled, things we’d counted on haven’t come to pass. Young people in Kenya are experiencing this in a devastating way. For them, their entire 2020 school year is a wash. They have been out of school since March and won’t return until January. The school year will have to be repeated.
School closures impact individual children, and also their families and entire communities. One particularly difficult consequence is that, since March, communities throughout Kenya have reported a rise in teenage pregnancy.
For these young girls, time out of school may extend beyond the pandemic. If they want to return to school, their families will have to help them care for their babies and find money to pay for the babies’ needs. Meanwhile, it has been reported that less than 10 percent of girls out of school ever return.
Alabaster and its partners in Kenya have started a project to help. We are coming around pregnant teenage girls with support that will help them raise healthy babies and take steps toward returning to school. While our Kenyan partners will oversee the program and provide home visits for training and psychosocial support, Alabaster has committed to contributing concrete needs, including food and supplies for both the mother and baby.
Food packs will be delivered monthly for six months after delivery, with pantry basics: cooking oil, maize (corn), dry beans, sugar and rice. Each mother will also receive a Dignity Pack with sanitary napkins, hygiene items and underwear, along with a Care Pack for the baby, with a blanket and warm clothes.
Our new partner, the Alliance for the Protection of Children, has a strong presence in Nairobi neighborhoods, with programs that nurture leadership, resilience and entrepreneurship among young people, and address the needs of vulnerable youth in crisis.
We’re excited to share more as we launch this program. You can be a part of it by donating here. A contribution of $200 sponsors an entire family. Gifts of every size matter, and will touch the lives of these girls--reminding them they haven’t been forgotten, and providing a good start to a future still filled with hope.