At their sunset years, many old people living in urban informal settlements face a number of challenges; including medical bills and lack of basic commodities such as food.
To address some struggles that the old grapple with in the city, Kibra Day Care Centre for the Elderly is providing food to 350 elderly persons aged 60 and above.
Founded 31 years ago by one Agnes Kariuki, the center has been providing food, emotional and financial aid to its beneficiaries while creating a platform for the elderly to voice out their concerns.
As the covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, the elderly have been stated to be more at risk of contracting the disease. The centre passes covid-19 related information to its beneficiaries through home visits and other methods. “We have members who are bedridden and are unaware of what is going on concerning the pandemic. In such cases we take our services to them and inform them on how to protect themselves from infections ,” says Agnes.
The center has been running programs twice a week to keep the elderly people engaged. “We communicate any information given by HelpAge International an Organisation promoting the rights of the older persons in the community. We also run a feeding program, physiotherapy sessions and even play football just to keep them fit,” she added .
In order to combat economic constraints, the centre has taught its members some activities like soap and charcoal making and weaving to earn a living. These small businesses have helped sustain them during this period of corona virus disease.
Rhoda Mbone Moi ,69 ,mother of seven is one of the beneficiaries. “I make soap from the skills I learnt here. With it, I am able to feed my family and sustain myself financially.
Wambua Kasuva,84 ,a crafts man who specializes in making sugar dishes, cooking sticks ,rollers ,motors and pestle among other crafts has benefited from such aid. He says: “During this pandemic things have been hard for me. I am old and hawking my items for sale is really straining and most of the time I hardly get income to fend for my family. At such times I come here at the centre and state my issue and I get help which am really grateful for.”
The center has been partnering with other NGO,s like HelpAge International, Ravi Foundation ,Kibra Joy initiative ,and Global Seniors among others to get funds for its operations. “We have our rentals where we use the rent paid to finance the projects and also have water kiosks where we sell water, ” says Agnes.
Some of the challenges the center has been facing especially during this time of the pandemic is having space to accommodate all the seniors in their projects. In order to maintain social distance, the team holds its weekly programmes in a small field just next to their office. Agnes, however, says it is difficult to use it during rainy seasons and that not all members attend the meetings regularly.