Responding to the Community’s Needs, No Matter What November 10, 2014 by Carolina For Kibera
Carolina for Kibera has always been an organization by Kiberans for Kiberans. When the community expresses a need, CFK responds to that need. When a community member seeks support, our staff connects them with resources. We have a wide range of programs and initiatives designed to support Kiberans as they lift themselves out of poverty.
Sometimes, however, the needs of the community go beyond the scope of our programs—and some of those needs are quite urgent.
Several weeks ago, an electrical power surge started a fire in a neighborhood located near the Tabitha Medical Clinic. Due to the lack of infrastructure in Kibera, it’s common for families in Kibera to have cheap, uninsulated power cables running outside (or sometimes beneath) their houses. These cables are interconnected and very difficult to control in case of something like a power surge. Once the fire started, it spread rapidly, destroying 21 houses that were homes to 75 families. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the families lost everything.
As soon as CFK staff heard the news, they responded as quickly as possible. Rebuilding these houses was of the utmost importance, not only because these 75 families could not afford to be displaced, but because living without permanent shelter is detrimental to personal health, both physically and psychologically. Though the Kenya Red Cross set up temporary tents for all those displaced, residents were still at higher risk for contracting preventable illnesses as a result of homelessness.
CFK reached out to our friends at John Keeble Church, notifying them of the disaster and explaining how to help. Thanks to their support, CFK was able to acquire enough construction poles and other building materials for the families to rebuild their houses from the ground up. A month and a half later, these residents of Kibera have roofs over their heads once more.
Sometimes responding to the community’s most urgent needs falls outside of established programs. Our staff strives to be flexible and respond quickly in case of an emergency like this one. With help from friends, supporters, and partners, CFK continues to be an organization by the community for the community, no matter what.