Announcing our Stronger Starehe Schools Coronavirus appeal
Today we are launching a fundraising appeal to help build a stronger Starehe Schools community as the Starehe Boys' Centre and Starehe Girls' Centre cope with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the Starehe schools. The cost of providing PPE, medical equipment and cleaning products is rocketing. The cost of medical expenses has already increased three fold since before the pandemic and now cases of coronavirus are on the rise again in Kenya.
Significant adaptations have been made across the schools to ensure a safe learning environment for students. New handwashing facilities have been installed at great extra expense to the schools and an enhanced schedule for cleaning and disinfection is in place throughout both schools. The protection of Starehe staff and students is costly.
As Sister Jane Soita, Director of Starehe Girls’ Centre, explains:
“We are desperately in need of funds to cover our additional costs caused by coronavirus. Since January we have spent 600,000 Kshs (£4,000) on thermometers, sanitizers, medicines and PPE. We simply cannot sustain that level of investment without additional support.”
The pandemic has also placed a significant strain on the students’ mental health and wellbeing. Following the closure of schools for nine months in Kenya, the majority of students were sent home. Students had a challenging time whilst away from school - many had to do manual labour and most were unable to continue with their studies because of lack of technology and internet access.
This has had a damaging impact on the students’ mental and emotional health. Starehe student Ian explains how the pandemic has affected him:
“While the school was closed I had to sell bags of biscuits on the street. Many of my friends passed on because of the coronavirus outbreak, and my mum died soon after I returned to school.
“Coronavirus has really affected my life. I’ve been feeling anxious and worried about my performance at school. I am determined to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor. Mum had kidney disease so I want to help prevent people from suffering like her in the future.”
Starehe student Sharon is also experiencing anxiety as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic:
"During lockdown my family suffered because of lack of money," she explains. "My mum got sick and as she provides the only source of income, it was hard to cope. I have been struggling to catch up at school and I am worried that I haven’t done as well as I would like in my exams. I know I have the opportunity to catch up and I believe I can do it.
You can read more about how students are coping through the Coronavirus pandemic here.
The schools are supporting students with access to emotional support through professional counsellors. But the additional cost of providing this vital service is taking a significant financial toll on the schools.
Our goal is to help the schools meet their Covid-19 related costs which will total an extra £18,000 over the next 6 months. This will help cover the cost of equipment and resources to keep the Starehe schools community safe and healthy. Donating to our appeal will also help us provide Starehe students with the emotional support and counselling they need to ensure they continue to thrive at Starehe.
Please support our Stronger Starehe Schools Coronavirus Appeal
You can make your donation here.