Feeding the needy: Chinese charity touching lives in Mathare slums

Written By: Eric Biegon

Some of the Mathare residents who benefited from the food distributed by Chinese Charity DBSA. PHOTO / COURTESY

A Chinese charity organization is currently making a difference in Mathare slums, touching livelihoods and especially helping the poor to cope with the hard economic situation brought about by the covid-19 pandemic.

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Ever since the virus outbreak, the Dream Building Service Association has been distributing free food to families residing in the country’s second-largest slum. And in the last few of days, the organization’s co-founder Liu Yimenghan, who has helped equip schools and launched schools’ feeding program in the same slum, noted that DBSA has been on a mission to ensure the majority of slum residents do not go without food. He disclosed that hundreds of families have been reached.

“We recently dispatched 1,200 anti-epidemic food parcels in the slum (Mathare) after the third wave of covid-19 was reported in Kenya,” Liu said

John Odaga, a father of seven, lives in Mathare. He says that it has been quite difficult to support his family having lost his job after his workplace shut down, depriving him of his source of income.

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“I greatly appreciate our Chinese friends for bringing the food program to Mathare.” He said

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Liu indicated that children and their families in the slums were facing an urgent hunger problem and that his Charity working jointly with the China Red Cross Foundation and the Chinese Welfare Society Foundation had to intervene to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

“We quickly contacted suppliers and started the purchase of food supplies. Soon we embarked on the distribution of anti-epidemic food packages.” He said

Paul Onyango is a Mathare resident who used to work as a mechanic for a company in Nairobi. Unfortunately, he was involved in a fire accident when a machine he was servicing caught fire, causing him severe body burns. He has been making numerous visits to the hospital seeking medication.

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Fortunately, the company he was working for took responsibility for his medical care for a year. But his family had to move to the countryside because he could not provide for them in the capital without a job. A father of five is happy the Chinese organization dropped him a basket of food supplies that will last him some days.

“Life has been hard since the accident because I can’t do any work. I still have to go to the hospital for medical checks and treatment with the hope that I will get better and be able to use my hands again. I genuinely thank the Chinese for a donation of food.” He said

Through this program, the charity has been distributing individual food packets of about 7kg to each of the beneficiary families in Mathare.  The package also includes beans, maize, and wheat flour, each package costing around Kshs.600. The organization is also distributing personal protective equipment such as face masks and other anti-epidemic materials.

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“In order to make the distribution more orderly, Kenyan authorities assigned us, police officers. In three consecutive days of the intense distribution process, fortunately, everything went well, and we were able to reach families with the much-needed food.” Liu said

Dream Building Service Association has been operating in Kenya since 2015. It is run by young Chinese college volunteers and it focuses on poor and disadvantaged areas.

Apart from renovation of schools in the slum to offer better learning environments for the children, DBSA has been organizing talent shows, soccer tournaments, and art programs, as well as offering school grants, covering six African countries.

Post-pandemic, Liu says the charity will continue to look out for the less privileged even as he expressed optimism that the organization will also help deepen relations between his motherland and Kenya.


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