Kids Play is happy to report we raised over $9000 and just organized another successful round of food distribution to our players and their families in Rwanda and Cambodia. Due to the generosity of Kids Play supporters who contributed to our successful fundraiser, our local staff was able to distribute over 6,100 lbs (2,800 kg) of food across both program sites!
In Rwanda, life remains difficult for those in our rural community of Gatagara. Though the lockdown has eased, families who rely on farming, market-selling and other labor activities are still struggling to find work and earn an income. Also, April and May constitute the rainy season, which has resulted in families enduring challenges beyond food insecurity—many have lost their homes due to landslides and the downpours continue to muddy the community water supply.
“A natural disaster struck our home; the rain destroyed it, shared the mother of female player Esther Iradukunda, age 14, I have four children, and now we must all live in a room that used to be our kitchen.”
Despite the challenges, KPI continues to work with the local government to deliver vital supplies to those in our program. On May 7 and 8, our coaches carried out two days of food distribution. This time, we rationed 10 KG bags of maize flour and 2 long bars of soap to each of our 185 families, and handed out 1,084 sanitary pads to all our older girls. Again, coaches ensured those coming to pick up the food respected social distancing and hand-washing, as well as were wearing masks.
“KPI helped us in a time that we really needed support.
Thank you!” —Mother of player Leontia Murekatete, age 9, Rwanda
A highlight of our May food distribution was our brief parent education session. In Rwanda, KPI holds parent education once every two months. These sessions have proven successful in engaging and educating parents and community members on our program’s gender equity values. During this session, parents had the option to learn about two different topics: conflict resolution or gender equality in the home. Coaches were impressed by many of the responses given by the parents around these topics, and how well they remembered what was discussed in previous sessions.
“My home is a safe space where there’s gender equality, said the grandmother of player Kenny Irakoze, age 9. I treat my children the same regardless of gender because they deserve the same opportunity. They work together, and I give them equal rights to share ideas and opinions and have the same amount of time to play and rest.”
While respecting government regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak, KPI is dedicated to providing support to our players and their families and ensuring both girls and boys have equal access to education and opportunity once the government restrictions have been lifted.
On the other side of the world, everyday life in Cambodia has also been met with many economic challenges for our families. Many of our players and their families live in close proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the 7 Wonders of the World, Angkor Wat, which is now closed and down in monthly revenue by 99.5%. This has created a chain reaction of job loss, food insecurity and a rise in domestic violence in the Ang Chagn and Srah Srong villages reported by our KPI families and coaches. In addition, with the lack of education around COVID19 fear has continued to grow, with community members afraid of even saying a simple hello to their neighbors.
“Everyone is scared to communicate with each other. Even neighbors will walk away when you talk to them. With this fear, not many people are helping each other so we are so thankful that KPI is.”- Yorm Tha, F, 14 years old
While Cambodia has reported vastly fewer COVID19 cases than other countries in Southeast Asia, is expected to be one of the hardest hit economically. In order to continue to help meet our families’ needs, KPI has continued to distribute food during the month of May. During this time period, 90 families received 5 cans of fish, 10kg of rice, 24 bags of noodles, salt, and two bars of soap.
Earlier in the month, KPI Cambodia Coaches went through a two-day COVID19 Prevention Training hosted by Volunteer Building Cambodia. Through the training, they learned how to facilitate a short workshop meant to educate families in vulnerable communities about COVID19. During the food distribution, they were able to share what they learned and educate our families on the facts of COVID19, proper hand washing techniques, and sanitation within the household.
“We encourage all students and guardians to protect themselves against coronavirus disease in order to protect themselves and stop the spread of COVID19. We are not the government, but we would like to contribute to your families and encourage your children to continue their education at home.” -Coach Sophea
Through our efforts in both KPI Cambodia and Rwanda, we have been able to build more trust within our communities and maintain a close relationship with our players and their families, while also helping to meet some of the their basic needs. In such an unprecedented time period, it has been important to show our long term support to the communities in which we work.
Thank you simply seems to fall short for the immense amount of gratitude our players and their families, and the entire Kids Play Team, have to all of you that contributed to our COVID19 Food Distribution fundraiser!
Stay Tuned as we report back on our June Food Distribution and COVID19 education sessions. If you feel inspired to continue supporting our players and their families, consider making a recurring donation.