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Kenyan spirit shines through corona crisis

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A mid the coronavirus gloom, leaders, corporates, clubs and ordinary Kenyans are going out of their way to make a difference.

A silent philanthropic spirit is sweeping across the country as change- makers seek to save and touch the lives of ordinary Kenyans, especially those from less privileged backgrounds.

They are making face masks, contributing money, donating hand sanitisers, water tanks, soap, food and other essential just help their fellow countrymen survive the hell that the pandemic has wrought on Earth.

In Kitui, a factory that was making uniforms, mats, napkins and gardening clothes has transformed into a 24-hour operation making surgical masks — an essential product for health workers on the front line.

Global shortage

Kitui County Textile Centre (Kicotec) has gone flat out to make 30,000 masks a day to help plug a global shortage of the protective gear.

Kenya currently needs 15 million masks for both health workers and its citizens who have instructed to wear the gear when in public places.

With the rising global demand for masks, Governor Charity Ngilu has decided to step up.

After a visit to Taiwan two months ago, Mrs Ngilu quickly arranged to have Kicotec, which employs more than 400 workers, make some sample masks which were taken to the Kenya Bureau of Standards for approval, before being granted the tender to make them by the Ministry of Health.

“Let’s not wait and wonder,” Mrs
said Ngilu told The Washington Post in a recent interview.
“We import everything and produce nothing, despite having all the

resources at our disposal,” Mrs Ngilu said.

Kicotec employees are mostly women with very little or no formal education.

The staff, who work in three eight-hour shifts, were retrained in seven days and are helping protect health in both private and public hospitals.

‘Big challenge’

“It was a big challenge to bring them from the village to where they are today,” said Mbuvi Mbathi, the factory manager told The Washington Post.

“But they are all experts now. They could each run their own factory, if you ask me,” he added.

In Mombasa, businessman and politician Suleiman Shahbal has forked out Sh900,000 to install fabricated automatic sanitiser spray booths in partnership with the county government.

The booths, installed on both sides of the ferry with larger ones under construction, are part of efforts to disinfect the ferry, a known weak link in the fight against the virus.

Rescue tenants

“This is the least we can do for the community to fight off this pandemic,”

Mr Shahbal said.

Several landlords in towns have also come to the rescue of tenants struggling to pay rent.

Mr James Kanja, 43, who owns a one-bedroom and two-bedroom rental apartment block in Mugumo, Ruiru, has reduced the rent by half for the month of April.

“I am a businessman dealing with construction materials. My business is down and I figured that some of my tenants are affected,” he told the Nation.

“In that apartment, I have teachers and some of them are on half pay.

Also, the uncertainty that comes with this pandemic can be overwhelming. I just wanted to uplift their spirits and alleviate some of their stress so they can focus on other basic needs.”

Other organisations

Other organisations and initiatives are rallying Kenyans to help support children’s homes and street children.

At the corporate level, banks, telcos and manufacturers have wired hundreds of millions of shillings to support the government fight against the global pandemic.

Others are giving in kind, from PPE for medical staff to oxygen, soap, hand sanitisers, surface disinfectants and

masks. The Corporative Bank leads commercial banks in the charity drive after it wired Sh100 million to the kitty.

UBA Bank has offered Sh15 million while Safaricom, besides foregoing Sh3 billion in M-Pesa revenue every month to allow free transactions for amounts below Sh1,000, has also donated four thermal cameras for the Ministry of Health that will help with a screening at various border entry points through its foundation.

A number of companies have also come together to launch the Safe Hands Kenya campaign that aims to distribute free soap, hand sanitisers, surface disinfectant and masks to Kenyans.

A nationwide marketing campaign will be rolled out in parallel, to motivate behaviour change and inform people about practical and immediate measures they can take to stay safe and slow the spread of the virus.

Rotary clubs
Rotary clubs have not been left behind.

They have launched an emergency kitty to provide soap, hand sanitisers and disinfectants to communities.

The initiative brings together all the Rotary clubs in the country and other well-wishers.

It is working in partnership with the National Emergency Covid-19 Crisis, the National Business Compact Forum and other stakeholders.

Already, the clubs have distributed hundreds of water tanks to communities in Nairobi and Kilifi counties.

“Rotary’s top priority is to ensure that communities in low-income areas are supported and not left behind in the response effort,” says Dr Joe Kamau, the Rotary chairman of the Emergency Response Team to COVID19.

The response team is also partnering with ShofCo, Amref, Red Cross and Amurt Africa to support efforts by the National Rapid Response Team to deliver donor packs.


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Business

Certified Homes Ltd Free Christmas & New Year Holiday Gifts

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Call/WhatsApp 0711 128 128
www.certifiedhomes.co.ke


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Diaspora

Kenyan Minting Money From Selling Muratina in UK

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A Kenyan man is minting money in the UK by brewing and selling the locally produced alcoholic drink, Muratina.

The brew is largely illegal in Kenya, however, for King’ori Wambaki, the Kikuyu traditional drink has made him a household name in Cheshunt, UK.

Wambaki has spent over 27 years in England, shifting from studies, working for foreigners and unveiling his own business.

He packages the drink, dubbed Muratelia, as wine spiced with honey. It contains 12 percent alcohol and is sold to customers under the age of 35.

a
King’Ori Wambaki (right) enjoys his drink. On the left is a fashion icon marketing a branded Muratelia bag
COURTESY

Muratelia is sold at between £10 (Ksh 1,491) and £25 (Ksh 3,727) depending on whether it’s sold on counters, retail shops, or restaurants.

“Cheshunt is located outside London. We used ingredients that are available here in the UK as we have not yet reached a point where we can import products from Kenya.

“The business provides income better than what I can earn while being employed, Wambaki who hails from Othaya, Nyeri stated while speaking with a local daily.

He disclosed that he made in-depth research and business plans on how to market his product. It has also been incorporated in the modeling and fashion industry through branded bags and clothes.

He has also created employment for the youth in the UK as he owns three restaurants and four shops.

What worked for him was that he had no competition as the drink was a new entity in the UK market. Wambaki is keen on expanding his business and the entrepreneur targets the local Kenyan market.

He said that he had applied for a business permit and license in Kenya, seeking to introduce his upgraded brand.

“The whites love it despite it being a Kenyan drink. In June we may start producing it in Kenya,” he added.

According to his LinkedIn page, the economist holds a Master of Science in Finance and Management and a Bachelor of Science in Economics.

a
A bottle of Muratelia in an advert posted on the company’s website
MURATINA
-Kenyans.co.ke


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My uncle turned me into a sex pet after mum’s death

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When her mother died in 2016, Shanice (not her real name), then aged 15, was left under the care of her grandmother. Her uncle, however, took advantage of the void left in her life to turn her into a sex toy.

Such was the strangeness of life that Shanice came face-to-face with, where a man who should have assumed the role of responsible care for his late sister’s daughter, turned into a monster to devour her chastity.

She says if her mother was still alive, she would have pursued her education to actualise her dream of becoming a clinical nurse and eventually venture into politics to gain a platform to defend the poor.

“But it was not designed to be so…I do not know whether it was God’s wish that it be so… But as a believer whose faith is hinged on the principle that everything happens with a purpose, I have learnt to appreciate my situation today as I hustle for livelihood in casual employments to bring up my three-year-old baby girl,” she tells Nation at her home village in Kabati, Murang’a County.

She has fond memories of her late mum and very ill thoughts of men in their blanket legion.

“Though poor, my mother used to struggle for me and would pay my school fees. We stood together in all our tribulations…going to bed hungry in the belief that I would one day get employed and support her…” she reminisces. “When we buried my mother, a week after her death, life took some very strange turns for me…One of the people who wanted to turn me into his sex toy was my mother’s elder brother who was, and still is a pastor!” she says.

She conceded once, twice, thrice and the shame and guilt tore into her conscience.

“I dropped out of school since I was no longer the bubbling Shanice with hope for a better tomorrow. A girl who had forcibly surrendered her chastity to her dead mom’s brother only deserved to die and die I must,” she tells of how she attempted to commit suicide, but her grandmother rescued her.

To escape the shame, in December 2016, Shanice decided to leave the village for Thika town. “With no place to call home and with my hunger pangs to satiate, I became a sex worker. A naïve one at that who conceived in January 2017, and again the guts I had to keep on living left me,” she says.

This time round, she unsuccessfully attempted suicide for a second time.

“I attempted to throw myself on the way of a speeding lorry along Thika Road but the driver veered off the road, crashing on the guardrails. He lost his life,” she recalls.

On her way to take a jump into Chania River a week later, she was arrested for being a vagabond, arraigned and placed under the children’s department for care owing to her condition.

It is the department that solicited for her care at the Shallom Coventry where on October 12, 2017, she delivered her baby. “Seeing my small angel gave me hope…I felt the urge to raise my child and give her the best,” she says.

Today, Shanice is employed at a supermarket in Thika and is grateful that she has an opportunity to raise her daughter and bring meaning to her life.

“I choose to forgive, but not forget, what my uncle did to me,” she concludes.

By nation.africa


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