Mothers from some of the least developed areas in Nairobi, areas that have recently seen the highest levels of violence in Kenya, attend sessions at CCF child-centered spaces to learn and share their experiences with their peers.
CCF Kenya opened its third and final Child Centered Space (CCS) on June 5, in the Nairobi urban area of Huruma. The primary function of the CCS is to provide places for children to go, play with their peers, learn about public health issues and gain respect for different ethnic groups.
CCF staff have also discovered a major side benefit to the centers — mothers are also benefiting from meeting together to discuss their children's health and other family issues.
Two hundred mothers recently gathered to express their gratitude to CCF colleagues in Dandora.
As one mother explained, “My last-born baby is a deaf-mute, and because of these gatherings with other mothers at the CCSs, I have had so much support to help me cope with this.”
Another mother said, “I was just in my house all the time, afraid of the violence. Now I know that my neighbors all felt the same way, and we are better for CCF’s program.”
CCF has also trained social workers who are working in these communities to help refer some of the most vulnerable cases of children to appropriate care - care that they may not have discovered otherwise.
One example is of a 14-year-old boy with quadriplegia who was stuck at home during the worst violence triggered by the Kenyan election and hurt himself because he was so frightened. He fell out of his bed and knocked his front teeth out. CCF has worked with his mother, who had been trapped at the market during the worst of the violence, to get this boy some care and fit him for a wheelchair that his mother can handle.
While the CCS programs are short-term, established during initial emergency situations only, CCF will be looking to transform these CCSs into Early Childhood Development programs. As most children under age 12 have now returned to school, CCF hopes to remain in these program areas to continue providing support to the mothers of these young children.
It will give mothers the opportunity to meet with CCF professional staff, discuss issues related to their youngest children’s development, and reach out to their neighbors more readily in times of need.