The Rafiki Feeding Program is an important extension of the work we do at Doyle Farm. It provides an invaluable opportunity for our team to connect with and support the boys, girls and babies who aren’t in our direct care. Life is tough for these street families and we strive to provide them with a safe place to rest and recharge each day.
Our incredible team sends regular updates that are beautiful, hopeful and heartbreaking. Yet this is life for these children. They have nothing yet are always appreciative, loving and generous with what they have.
An update from Auntie Conci
Auntie Conci, our Feeding Program manager, shared a recent day at the program.
“Our day was lovely as usual, but this doesn’t mean that there were not a few stresses here and there. One of our boys was hit on the head with a large piece of metal by one of the bad gangs because he was trying to prevent them from beating a small boy. He was in a lot of pain but there was nothing we could do about the cruel gang. We gave the boy first aid and made sure he was not in pain.
“Recently, many boys were taken in by a children’s home. As we expected, they returned to the streets yesterday, saying the home fed them well and provided a nice bed, but that the staff punishes the children by beating them. I felt really sad to see them back on the street.
“They were exhausted from walking the long distance back into town, so they spent the day sleeping until lunchtime.
“They told us that before Rafiki Mwema came to their rescue, they had to fight for food, saying, ‘Before Rafiki Mwema came to our rescue, people used to bring us food at the base – food that they themselves couldn’t eat. We had no choice but to fight for the stinky food just to fill our bellies. Most of the time, we would scavenge in the bins where the food was not even fit for a dog. But now? We eat freshly cooked food just like normal humans. Nothing will ever repay what Rafiki has done for us.’ “
What is the Rafiki Feeding Program?
In 2019 we were reminded of the harshness of living on the streets in Kenya when a young boy, just 13 years old, was burnt to death because he stole a tiny amount of money to survive. Street boys and street families live in constant fear. Death is always a heartbeat away. This shocking story hit our community hard.
At Rafiki Mwema, our big girls and boys immediately gave up their beloved swimming excursions and used the money to set up a weekly feeding program in town. They also decided to decrease their meal sizes to save money and use it towards feeding the kids in town. Our children and our staff were in agreement. They would give up what they loved for others to live.
Then came COVID-19. Hotels, shops and markets closed. There was almost no one around to beg from, and the rubbish that the children searched for food scraps disappeared. They began to starve. We couldn’t let that happen, and began to provide daily meals. In return, we’ve received the love and trust of the children who attend the Feeding Program.
The Rafiki Feeding Program gives so much more than a meal
In addition to providing a daily meal, the Feeding Program arranges medical and dental care, and offers a chance to bathe and wash clothes. We give basic first aid treatment, take children to hospital for severe injuries and illness, and pay for medicines such as antibiotics and HIV antiretrovirals. We advocate for their treatment at hospitals that typically turn them away. Sometimes we have the heartbreaking task of arranging a funeral.
Each morning, our dedicated team arrives to check on the boys, girls and, in some cases, babies. They assess injuries or illnesses that may have occurred overnight and arrange treatment.
Lunch is served at separate venues for our older and younger children. We sit down and eat with them, which helps to build trust and connection. It’s a special time for everyone. After the meal, some children sleep, knowing they’ll be safe while we are near, while others play football. The day ends when it’s time to pack up and leave before the COVID-19 curfew starts.
How you can help
Every day, our team faces new challenges. This work is exhausting and sometimes heartbreaking but our team consistently strives to do their very best, always with empathy, patience and compassion. It takes a very special person to do this job and we’re so grateful that our wonderful team loves these children as they deserve to be loved. We are beyond excited to see how the Rafiki Feeding Program is transforming lives.
Thank you to each of you for the part you’ve played. The Feeding Program is the heartbeat of our work in Nakuru and every dollar we receive makes a difference. Help us transform lives and donate to the Rafiki Feeding Program today.