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Meet Makena...

Makena is the Senior Social Worker at our partner project in Africa’s largest slum, Kibra. Located just over 4 miles from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya’s bustling capital, Kibra (historically known as Kibera) is home to an estimated 500,000 - 700,000 people. Because of the kindness of supporters like you, we are currently able to support 283 children and young people at this project, and over 700 across the whole of Kenya.

For families living in Kibra, there are many challenges, including unemployment, disease, crime, poor sanitation, and low levels of education. Makena tells us the biggest challenge parents face, however, is where to get the next meal.

“Many families only survive on one meal per day which is mostly the evening meal. Many parents in Kibra are casual workers and the little they get in a day is what they will eat. Children under Karibuni sponsorship are so fortunate that they get a balanced meal every day.”

Key to all Karibuni’s major projects, are the nutritious daily meals we provide to the children we support. We are passionate that no child should struggle to concentrate in class due to hunger or worrying when they will next eat.

This food provision is needed now more than ever before as food insecurity has been exacerbated due to a number of contributing factors. The war in Ukraine has seen exports of cereals to Africa significantly reduced. This has been made worse by the fact that local production cannot increase as East Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. Two of the areas in which we operate, Tharaka Nithi and Wajir / Garrissa are now in the highest alert level, with two further areas in which we work, Meru and Kilifi, following closely behind.

The aftermath of Covid-19 has also had an impact, largely due to the effect the lockdowns had on employment rates.

Makena tell us, “Life after Covid has been challenging because many of our parents who survive on casual work have not been able to get back to stable employment, so their other children [who are not supported by Karibuni] are not able to get a balanced meal. Sometimes the sponsored children come to get food with their siblings, and we can’t send them back with nothing."

This combination of war, drought and the destabilising effect of Covid-19 have driven a steep increase in the cost of living, something that many of us can currently relate to. For example, 1kg of rice cost 160 Kenyan Shillings (ksh) in 2021 and now, in 2022, costs 290ksh, a huge increase of 57%. Because both the demand for food provision and the cost of food are higher, the situation for the Karibuni team in Kibra is very challenging to manage.

Makena says, “As a social worker, you get attached emotionally to the children and you want to protect them from any ills that they might come across. We get so many extra requests from our parents like asking for more food so that other children can eat.”

Thanks to supporters like you, over the last 27 years we have seen children who were born into unimaginably hard conditions go on to thrive in careers such as biochemistry, social work, nursing and accountancy to name a few. All have become self-sufficient, independent, productive citizens who are making a positive contribution to their families, communities, and country. Without feeding going hand in hand with education, many children would not have been able to stay the course.

We know this winter will be challenging for so many in the UK, but we need your help, once again, to ensure that the children we support in Kenya, who are drawn from the margins of society and living in deep poverty, eat well despite the increased cost of basic foodstuffs. Only then can they thrive and follow in the footsteps of those that have gone onto success before them.

We would greatly appreciate a donation of any amount, which will go a long way in Kenya and help us to continue to truly transform young Kenyan lives.


As a suggestion:

- A donation of £15 could pay for 1 child to receive lunch for a month

- A donation of £45 could pay for 1 child to receive lunch for a term

- A donation of £125 could pay the salary of 1 project cook for a month

- A donation of £300 could pay the salary of 1 project cook for a term


You can support this appeal by:

  • Making a bank transfer to Karibuni Children, Sort Code: 20-03-18, Account Number: 70692697 (Please add your surname & initial as a reference and, if possible, notify us of this donation by emailing us)

  • Sending a cheque payable to “Karibuni Children” to Karibuni Children, Stoke Mandeville Methodist Church, Eskdale Road, Stoke Mandeville, HP22 5UJ

  • Donating online via this link

  • Ringing 01296 614887 and making a donation by credit or debit card

NB. Via Gift Aid your donation can be boosted by 25p for each £1 you donate. If you are not already registered with us, we can send you a form for completion and return.

Thank you so much for your support!


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