Helping Turkana’s little ones
Life in Turkana is tough – but, through Mary’s Meals and the love of a strong community, there is hope.
Every school day in Turkana, northern Kenya – an arid desert land where rivers run dry and crops struggle to survive – a neat line of tiny children queue up outside Aterika Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre, waiting to receive Mary’s Meals.
In this place plagued by drought, malnutrition can be so severe that children are given two meals – porridge in the morning and maize with beans for lunch. They are served by a local mother called Esther, and towards the front of the line is a little boy called Songot, her son. Songot dresses in a ragged red t-shirt he has borrowed from a neighbour. He has little clothing of his own.
When Songot was just two months old, his father died, leaving Esther – a now vulnerable single parent battling poverty in this harsh and dangerous environment – unsure of their future. But, one day, a friend from a neighbouring village told her about Mary’s Meals and suggested she could become a volunteer cook.
It was this kind encouragement that brought mother and son here, where they found the ECD centre – a place which to many may not be much to look at; just a small brick building with two simple rooms and a tin roof. But it is here that a lifeline and the promise of a daily meal in a place of education is found.
Esther tells us: “I love this work because all of the little children are able to get something to eat at school, even if I don’t have anything to offer at home.”
Thank you for all you do for Songot and a million other little ones around the world. Together we have achieved so much. Let’s not stop now.