Mikoroshoni News – May 2020

Dear Supporter,

We hope you and your family are all keeping well and keeping safe in these very difficult times.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support for Mikoroshoni Primary School. We will try to keep you updated on the situation in Kenya.

Evelyn, Trustee from Edinburgh did manage to visit Mombasa and the school for 3 weeks in February just before all the restrictions on foreign travel came into force.

John, Trustee from Manchester cancelled his trip to Mombasa the day before he was due to fly out in March after receiving an email from our Foreign Office advising against travel to Kenya. The Kenya Government had suddenly imposed 14 days of quarantine on travellers arriving from countries that had cases of the Coronavirus. This included the UK.

Paul, Trustee from Sheffield was due to fly to Mombasa this month with his wife but obviously their holiday was cancelled.

The Kenya Government ordered the closure of all schools from Monday March 23rd plus the closure of all non-essential businesses. In the past few weeks they have imposed a curfew from 7.00pm to 5.00am.They have also stopped all travel except for the transport of food, in and out of the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale. They have also stopped all international passenger flights in and out of the country.

There is Coronavirus in Kenya but at the moment only small numbers of people are tested. The latest figures show 21,702 people have been tested, of which there are 411 confirmed cases and 21 people have died. How accurate these figures are we cannot say. It is very difficult to predict what will happen in the next few months especially as social distancing in the slums and in the very poorest areas is impossible. Also the outdoor food markets where those living in poverty buy food, are always very crowded and disorganised. Most of the businesses have closed until further notice. There will be no help with wages or any benefits provided. Everyone just has to manage as best as they can. Anyone who falls ill will have little chance of getting any treatment as it will be very expensive and the equipment not available.

 As with all UK charities our ability to fund raise by holding various events has been put on hold and some future activities have already been cancelled in the months ahead. Nobody at this point in time knows when some form of “normality” will return.

All of us as Trustees have taken into account all the many issues that have arisen around the problems caused by the Coronavirus. We have had to make the decision to furlough all the teachers on much reduced wages until the schools reopen. We do not know how long the schools will remain closed.

In our last newsletter we mentioned that we had not at that point been able to find a sponsor for the Feeding Programme for 2020. However, in January this year we were approached by one of our long standing sponsors who very kindly and very generously offered to sponsor the Feeding Programme in full for 2020. The closure of the school has meant we have had to put the Feeding Programme on hold until the school is allowed to reopen. We have spoken to Joshua, our Headteacher to see if we could, in any way, continue to feed the children whilst the school is closed, either in the form of meals or bags of flour. However, as the order has been given that schools must be closed, any attempt to provide food which would involve children or parents coming to the school would be seen as going against Government orders. It would mean that Joshua and any others involved would be in serious trouble with Government Officials.

We are all living through this terrible pandemic but most people here are able to access food and a roof over their heads. If we are unlucky enough to become ill we have our fantastic NHS to look after us.

We are in constant communication with Joshua and other friends of Mikoroshoni. As soon as the current restrictions begin to lift we will do what we can to re-instate lessons and the provision of food. At the moment it is totally out of our hands. As soon as circumstances change we will let you know what is happening or is allowed to happen at Mikoroshoni .

Best wishes from The Trustees of ‘The Friends of Mikoroshoni Primary School’

We hope we will have better news for you in the very near future.