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Helping Kenyan Families Survive the Violence

 

 Image of Bernard, a member of the CCF Kenya staff
Bernard, a CCF Kenya staff person, has been working long days since post-election violence broke out in Kenya in December 2007.  Bernard is concerned about the future of his son and the safety and security of all children in Kenya.

 

When the post-election violence broke out in Kenya, many CCF workers were on Christmas break with their families. Bernard, a CCF staff member, and his family were visiting relatives in the western region of Kenya — one of the most affected areas of the country when he heard the news.

Bernard rushed back to the office in Nairobi, to begin responding to the crisis, while preparing his wife and 8-month-old son, Ryan-Kwee to join him. (Kwee means “peace” in Bernard’s native language; however, this is anything but a peaceful time for Bernard’s family.)

As the situation changes daily, it is clear that children have been greatly impacted by the crisis. Many families have been displaced, forced to move from their homes, and some children have been separated from their parents. Families’ livelihoods have been affected as their work-places have been destroyed and their mobility restricted.

Many children have not been able to return to school due to the insecurity, while both women and children are at high risk of sexual violence in the slum areas.

Thankfully, however, progress is being made. Bernard and other staff are soon going to establish five Child Centered Spaces where children will have safe spaces to learn, play and receive nutritious meals. CCF-trained social workers will also be available at each of the centers to provide basic counseling for children and women who are survivors of sexual violence and also ensure access to medical, psychosocial and police protection services in their communities.

CCF is also mobilizing community leaders, parents and youth to form Child Wellbeing Committees to promote safety in their neighborhoods and monitor and provide assistance to vulnerable children. About 200 young people are also being trained and mobilized in the slum areas to become positive agents of change, helping to promote safety for children and women.

Through it all, Bernard has never complained about his challenging work or the long hours. He is deeply concerned about the future of his son and the safety and security of all children in Kenya. “I want my child and all Kenyan children to have a future. We need to protect them now in this very difficult time.”

 

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