Plea to aid Kenyan children in terror-threat zone

The families of these children, supported by the Friends of the Mombasa Children charity, are being badly affected by the troubles in Kenya
The families of these children, supported by the Friends of the Mombasa Children charity, are being badly affected by the troubles in Kenya

CONTINUING violence in Kenya is affecting the work of a small charity with supporters across the Rustington and Littlehampton area, which helps children and families in poverty-stricken slums.

Three visits arranged by the Friends of the Mombasa Children to the port city had to be cancelled last year after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised travellers to avoid the area.

Children in one of the two new classrooms funded by the Friends of the Mombasa Children charity

Children in one of the two new classrooms funded by the Friends of the Mombasa Children charity

With that warning still in force, and following the massacre of 148 people by the terrorist group al Shabab on a university campus in Garissa, 200 miles north of Mombasa, three weeks ago, there is no prospect of the charity organising any further visits, either by trustees or supporters, in the near future.

However, contact is being maintained through telephone and internet links.

The trips, often taking young people to Mombasa to experience Kenyan culture and find out more about the charity’s projects, helped to raise awareness of its work, and widen its support in this area. Teachers have also travelled to the school maintained by the Friends group, to hold training courses for the teaching staff. The charity runs a small orphanage and feeding and medical programmes, too.

Chris Azzaro, from Littlehampton, a trustee of the charity, said the trouble in Kenya was directly affecting the children and families in Mombasa: “The terrorist problem has not only hit the tourist industry in Kenya but, as a result, a number of parents of our children have become unemployed.

“The terrorist problem has not only hit the tourist industry in Kenya but, as a result, a number of parents of our children have become unemployed.”

Chris Azzaro, trustee of Friends of Mombasa Children

“Our fund-raising has also been hit hard without visitors to our school returning to the UK full of enthusiasm for our work.”

While the Ebola crisis in west Africa has understandably attracted much attention, malaria was still a major problem in Kenya and in 2014, when an outbreak of dengue fever affected many of the school’s pupils, the charity was hard pressed to meet the medical fees, Chris added.

Despite the setbacks, the charity has been able to build two new classrooms to relieve overcrowding at the school this year, but with more funds still needed, a supporter is running in the London Marathon to raise money for mosquito nets and medical care, while the next project is likely to involve building a larger septic tank.

The charity would like to hear from anyone else who could help with donations or organising events.

For more details, log on to the website here.