Story by Caleb Mwamisi
On 22nd May 2020, over 60 families were eagerly represented at Upendo Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Education Program premises as food stuffs were happily given to them as the Walk with a Vulnerable Family program continued, this time in the auspices of the St. Joseph the Worker parish which includes Christ the King Catholic church.
The St. Joseph the Worker Parish, established by Jesuits fathers of Eastern Africa Province, runs two development programs, Upendo OVC and Uzima in Kangemi. The first provides education for children from pre-school education to post-secondary education with some of these children being AIDS orphans. Alternatively, Uzima provides much needed help to vulnerable women living with HIV and AIDS in the poor Kangemi community.
The food items were dispensed to the beneficiaries of two programs early in the morning, from 730am to 830am, a time chosen owing to security considerations. The day of distribution was also kept under wraps with beneficiaries being the only invitees and happened simultaneously at two locations: Upendo OVC and Christ the King Church.
At Christ the King, Fr. Faustine Binamungu SJ., the parish priest, was joined by AJAN director Elphege Quenum and Pascalia Sergon- AJAN capacity building officer, as he oversaw the activity which saw over 60 families obtain food to push them through a few days. The parish intends to continue with this support for their community, hoping to reach over 600 families who are adversely affected by the coronavirus.
At Upendo OVC, Fr. Binamungu was ably represented by his assistant Fr. Ponsiano. “We are grateful for the support of AJAN for coming to supplement and collaborate with us in this process. We do this routinely”, said Fr. Ponsiano. “By giving people food and the sanitary items, we encourage them to stay at home to minimize chances of contracting the coronavirus”.
“Being a poor community, many people are in need of food and would indeed invade the compound seeking help and this would make the process chaotic and unsuccessful”, observed Nafisa Ayuko, a social worker and programs coordinator at Upendo OVC. She was joined by Vera, a teacher.
The director of AJAN, Fr. Elphege Quenum observed that #WalkwithaVulnerableFamily will continue to be carried out and encouraged well-wishers to give and enable the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar social ministries reach out to as many vulnerable people as possible. “People living with HIV and AIDS are more seriously affected as they now have to contend with the economically devastating impact of another unforgiving virus”, he added. He was in the company of Caleb Mwamisi, Communication and Research officer, and Pascalia Sergon, Capacity Building officer at AJAN.