A heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated to our COVID-19 Community Food Distribution project through our Go Fund Me Campaign! With the help of our dedicated community, we’ve raised over $6,000 to supply items like rice, noodles, maize flour and canned fish to our families in Rwanda and Cambodia in April and May.
“The donation arrived at just the right time,” said Minko Osman, head coach in Rwanda. “Before Kids Play stepped in, families were scarce on nourishing staples like rice or beans to feed their children.”
Our incredibly dedicated local coaches carried out the food distribution (nearly 7,000 lbs of food!) in mid-April with the help of partner schools in Cambodia and the local government in Rwanda. Kids Play is now ramping up to supply more rations in May, and are hoping to continue this project into June.
“The food provided by KPI is very good and fits my family’s needs,” said Ty Ty, a 16-year-old girl in Kids Play’s Cambodia program. “We really needed that.”
In the rural villages of Rwanda and Cambodia, access to food is limited due to the pandemic. There has been a strict government lockdown in both countries, preventing movement from home. In Kids Play’s community of Gatagara, Rwanda, most people are subsistence farmers who survive off tending to their plots of land, selling staples like vegetables or eggs, or engaging in labor jobs. However, their ability to make money from this work has been affected greatly by the lockdown. Additionally, inflation has caused food prices to skyrocket 50 percent above average. In Siem Reap, Cambodia, many are dependent on the tourism sector and have lost their jobs due to travel restrictions and a dwindling economy.
A powerful poem by Buhong, a 13-year-old boy in Kids Play’s Cambodia program, further illustrates the difficulty of the situation.
No income or salary from working
To support a family as before.
It is becoming harder to get along well with family and friends
Because these are scary times.
We live in fear and tightly packed together
This is an unknown realm.
Our Prime Minister now has sole control of the country.
Educating our children is causing a lot of problems
Because we don’t know when school will start again
We do not have online resources in the countryside.
The quarantine is tedious and difficult to control your mood
And [men’s] attitudes toward wives and children has not been great
Most father’s do not like housework
Now they are stuck in the house and must contribute
In Rwanda, the mother of Honorine Uwamahoro, a 13-year-old girl in Kids Play’s program, said that her family has been struggling to eat throughout the pandemic—and had gone two days without food
—just drinking porridge from flour that she received from a neighbor.
These anecdotes highlight the hardship of our families and how the situation is especially impacting children and youth. Most of those in Kids Play’s programs receive meals at school, but with classrooms temporarily shut down across both countries, children are missing potentially their only meal of the day. When children do not eat, they are at risk of permanent stunting of their growth. We also worry that our youth may forego their studies when schools reopen in order to find a job and make ends meet for their families. This issue is especially worrisome for girls, who are usually the first to be denied an education by their families— forced to stay home and take care of children and complete domestic chores.
Kids Play youth created pieces of artwork to depict the situation in their villages and express themselves during this time. In Rwanda, Kids Play youth Sarah drew a picture showcasing stay-at-home orders and social distancing. She says she misses her friends, school, and playing with everyone on the KPI field, but she is optimistic about what the future holds and is excited to get back to KPI once stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Despite everyday obstacles at our program sites in Rwanda and Cambodia, Kids Play’s food distribution efforts were genuinely appreciated and arrived at just the right time!
“Thank you to KPI and everybody who participated in the fundraiser and provided food to the children,” said the mother of Mahoro Private, a 13-year-old boy in Kids Play Rwanda’s program. “We appreciate any and all the help possible.”
Because of the generous donations from Kid’s Play’s community, we can provide food to our families, giving them one less thing to worry about during these uncertain times.
In their pictures, Sarah from Rwanda and Dani from Cambodia have both drawn two key ways to prevent contracting COVID-19—staying at home and social distancing. Minko Jr. (son of Head Coach Minko) has become a handwashing expert in his family!
Once again, a big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to our COVID-19 Community Food Distribution project! We are continuing to raise money for June, so please spread the word and consider giving or sharing our @KidsPlayIntl GoFundMe on Facebook and Instagram.
Also, don’t forget to join us on May 5, 2020 for #GivingTuesdayNow