Kite Oxford Nairobi

In the last five months, we (a student led organisation) came together to provide food baskets to mentees families. We decided on redirecting our mentorship project funds at first to covid response, seeing that many of the families were in desperate circumstances with most losing their daily jobs as casual workers. The school counselor, the principal and gate keepers of the area assisted greatly in coming up with the names of the needy students this then facilitated our action in providing monthly food baskets to each family.

So far, we have been able to provide tonnes of food baskets to over 41 families who have an average 5 members living within the home since April to date. We have been able to spread awareness and support each of the families as we check up on their well being when we distribute the foods. Most are hopeful that things will get better while some of the mentees (children) are unsure of their education as schools have been closed with no assurance of opening up again until next year.

I’ve learned that its important to hear the need of the people, at first we thought covid might restrict us in meeting to discuss what the families needed most in terms of foods they eat. Another challenge was most families don’t have phones to be contacted easily, on this we just permanently informed them that we will be distributing the food baskets on first of every month at a particular time (11am) this helped us a lot. We also had to understand how to communicate better in swahili as most parents did not like speaking to us in English.

Story shared by Patricia Ojijo, Kenya

More info here or at patriciaojijo@gmail.com

“Roti revolution” that helps feed migrant workers

An initiative that involves women from the residential community of Surat, India, cooking five extra rotis each has become a massive lifeline for migrant workers who are suffering amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. The initiative was started by NGO, Surat Manav Seva Sangh ‘Chhanyado’. Women from across the city cook extra rotis or flat bread that are collected and taken to the NGO’s community kitchen in the city. The kitchen is staffed by 16 women who exclusively make vegetable curry and chili pickle, packing the rotis collected from the households along with it. The food packets are then distributed to about 35,000 people in need in different parts of the city.

Picture by S. Mojumder/Drik/CIMMYT.

Story from India.

Read more here or at the Community Tool box.

Making Sure Kids Get Fed during School Closures

Food service professionals and other community members are stepping forward to ensure no child goes hungry. Millions of kids across the US rely on school meals for essential nutrition. Communities are getting creative; some schools are delivering meals or hosting meal drive-throughs for families. Learn more about these efforts in this article from Voices for Healthy Kids

Image retrieved from Voices for Healthy Kids

Story from the USA.

Read more here or at the Community Tool box.

University Extension Project: Intersectional Perspective on a Feminist Clinic

We gathered a group of [female] mental health workers with different links to public university – professors, technicians and post-graduate Psychology students – and we created an emergency response project for women in domestic violence situations. The psychology sessions are conducted via Whatsapp and preferably in groups of 3 to 4 women with a facilitating technician. Additionally, we have social network pages that offer the contacts for guidance and legal and health services for the women, and a group of writers which can exchange experiences just by writing a collective diary.

Image from the clinic’s Facebook page. Translation “You can talk to us by sending a message through the Facebook or Instagram page at @clinicafeministaufrgs Even in isolation, you are not alone!”

The project is partnered with a gender justice and human rights for women NGO. This defined the community leaderships as the priority in our response, as they attend to other women who are potentially victims of domestic violence in their regions. These groups operated as emotional support to allow the leaderships to continue doing their work of actively searching for women who needed help while also feeling as if they are being supported in their own self-care. We formed a support network in regions of greater vulnerability where the increase in poverty has resulted in an increase in domestic violence.

The mutual aid groups online have expanded via referrals from the women among themselves and publicizing on social networks (Facebook and Instagram), where the posted instructions might have reached more women than just the ones that accessed the groups. The psychologist and services network involved also expanded with the suggestion of integrating a project which would help other women. The professionals understood that it is possible to increase access to an audience which would not look for them and women who wouldn’t be motivated to find psychological aid found out that they can make use of it to take care of themselves and break with cycles of violence.

Story shared by Simone Paulon, Brazil

More info at the project’s Facebook page or at simonepaulon@gmail.com

Irish Citizens Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts for Native American Tribes

In 1847 during the Irish Potato Famine, the North American Choctaw tribe raised $170 (almost $5,000 in today’s currency) to contribute to Ireland’s relief fund. Now, 173 years later, donors from Ireland are raising money for the Navajo and Hopi tribes’ COVID relief fund. The Navajo and Hopi tribes have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, likely because of a lack of running water in one-third of all homes and grocery shortages. Now, over $3.4 million has been raised so far, with most of the donations coming from Irish citizens expressing gratitude for the help their ancestors received.

Picture by Andrew Hay/Reuters

Story from Ireland and the USA.

 Read more here or at the Community Tool box.

Kansans Turn To Each Other For Help During Coronavirus Outbreak

In Kansas, there were several examples of Mutual Aid Networks and about restaurants providing free meals for those in need.

“After one crowded lunch service, Heriford said, she could no longer justify the risk to her staff or customers. The restaurant closed March 14, though she and a small number of staff haven’t stopped working. The Ladybird is offering free bagged lunches for anyone who needs them. Heriford buys the food from her usual distributor, prepares it and leaves it on carts in front of the restaurant.”

Picture by Nomin Ujiyediin, Kansas News Service

Story from the USA.

Read more here or at the Community Tool box

Huerto Comunidad Coop San Francisco

More than the Covid 19, we have earthquakes, and we are still recovering from a strong hurricane. Our community is a Cooperative house system. We have been learning from our complex personalities in a respectful manner. We have notice changes in ourselves. Persons that usually didn’t care about the others are more solidarity. Looking for medicines and food, listen and support with each other. Consciousness of consumerism and marketing medicine are themes we have been actively discussing. We are learning a lot from this pandemic.

Picture by Lídia Martínez

We have more consciousness of how we can change with our community. If we practice solidarity, the community will do it too. Being alert to others suffers is very important.

Communities are the first response to hunger, poverty. Being able to share our material resources is a priority. People change and learn if we begin with ourselves. Modeling is the best.

Story shared by Lydia Martínez Vázquez, Puerto Rico.

More info please contact at lydiamart2000@gmail.com or coopsf_2000@yahoo.es

Girls spread hope to those in need

Girls Gang, a community action group for teenage girls in a disadvantaged community produced positive posters to be included in food packages being sent to families experiencing poverty and hardship during lockdown. The group wanted to do something to help the community but felt limited in ways they could enact their citizenship during lockdown. Messages in the posters included words of hope, tips for coping with lockdown and also telling residents that they were not alone.

Picture by West Cumbria Community Action Trust

Recipients of the care packages told the coordinators that the posters helped to lift spirits at times when anxieties were high. It also provided the girls with an opportunity to enact their civic citizenship under the civic restrictions imposed under lockdown.

Class based inequalities are being exacerbated during the lockdown but working class and poor communities are finding creative ways to support one another.

Story shared by Suzanne Wilson, United Kingdom.

More info here or at swilson21@uclan.uk

Caring and Fast Response in a Small Bavarian Community

PAEHL (Southern Bavaria, Germany) is a small community (2000 inhabitants) in a picturesque location south of Munich and close to the Alps.

Although it is well known for a rich community life (traditional music bands, soccer, clubs maintaining local traditions), the corona-lock-down came as a surprise. However, in a very short time after, the community came together to support the vulnerable groups.

Picture sent by Wolfgang Stark

The young people of the village formed a voluntary corona task force within two days after lock-down. The local mayor immediately started phone-calls to 200 (!) local inhabitants aged over 70, asking if they needed support on food supply or health services. Seniors have also been asked if they would like to receive regular phone-calls if they lived alone.

The local voluntary corona task force provided food supply and shopping services from day three after lock-down. Municipal administration is coordinating orders. The small local public library offered book deliveries on demand. Local administration sent out direct mailers to all households with information emergency phone numbers, health services during shut-down, where to buy local food or where to order hot meals delivered to households.

Based on a rich community life people are amazingly fast and creative to form community support systems. Collaboration of all sectors of everyday life (young and old, local shops and market gardens, libraries, community administration…) is key.

This story was shared by Wolfgang Stark, from Germany.

More info here or at wolfgang.stark@stw.de