Kenyan girls, impoverished communities suffer in pandemic fallout

By May 4, 2021

Kenya (MNN) — The term “COVID casualties” describes more than people who die of COVID-19. Kenya Hope’s Joy Mueller says the pandemic-related suffering she saw during a recent trip to Kenya broke her heart.

“People don’t have work; they don’t have money; they can’t buy even the most basic things of life. Some of the other casualties are the children, because of the prolonged time out of school,” Mueller says.

“I was heartbroken to see some of these very young girls we had saved from early marriages – [who] had been in school – now, because of the lockdowns, were married at the young ages of 14 and 15.”

It didn’t take long for a child marriage crisis to surface in Kenya following the onset of a pandemic. Selling a daughter becomes tempting when parents run out of money.

Siminkur’s parents used to watch him suffer without any hope of change.
(Photo courtesy of Kenya Hope)

“Especially in rural areas … parents reverted to practicing traditional cultural things, such as circumcising the girls or marrying them off very young,” Mueller says.

Meeting medical needs

Getting medical care is another significant problem exacerbated by the pandemic. “During our trip… we saw hospitals turning patients away because they didn’t have enough beds,” Mueller says.

“At the same time, there were patients in the hospital [whose families could not cover] the cost of the surgery. They had to leave their loved ones in the hospital and go find the title deed to their property, their homes, and leave that as collateral at the hospital.”

Many medical disorders are treatable, but paying for that treatment is another issue. “Because of the poverty, there’s a lot of hopelessness,” Mueller says of the rural communities where Kenya Hope partners with local Christians.

“Kenya Hope is a holistic ministry. We don’t just preach the Gospel; we try to live the Gospel. We try to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

By giving to Kenya Hope, you can help provide medical care and Gospel hope to kids like Siminkur. “We have several individuals who desperately need different kinds of surgeries for maladies they’ve lived with for years,” Mueller says.

Siminkur’s parents used to watch him suffer without any hope of change. “As a young child, he had a disease with a high fever, and it damaged his heart. He desperately needed to have open-heart surgery, and this was beyond the means of his family,” Mueller says.

“But Kenya Hope, we raised some funds ($10,000) for it and were able to get him that surgery. Being able to help people with these medical conditions is a phenomenal way to show the love of Christ to them.”



Header image courtesy of Kenya Hope.

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