The charity organization Cargo Human Care (CHC), founded and guided since 2007 by Lufthansa Cargo Captain, Fokko Doyen, in close collaboration with the local Anglican Church, supports Kenyan foster children. However, due to protection measures to minimize the spread of Covid-19, the orphans’ accommodation – the Mothers’ Mercy Home in Nairobi – had to close temporarily, leading to the exodus of its 120 children. A new and unprecedented challenge for CHC.
The lockdown has drastically changed CHC's activities in the East African country. Formerly a classical aid organization providing care, accommodation, education, and food to orphans aged between
5 and 19 years, financed by sponsors and supported by volunteering medics, CHC has meanwhile turned into a caregiver for entire families, providing basic foodstuffs to secure their very
In an immediate reaction to the fast worsening economic climate in Kenya following the outbreak of the pandemic, CHC’s board members kicked off a fund-raising campaign called FAMILY AID 2020.
The initiative is aimed at supporting the relatives or carers of CHC’s 120 foster children, including 8 administrative staff paid by the Anglican Mount Kenya South diocese. These individuals were
fired overnight by the Bishop, immediately cutting them off from any income. “To me, this was an inexplicable decision by the clergy,” a disillusioned Fokko Doyen comments.
He recalls that in Kenya’s dire situation, the primary concern is to fight famine and – in the case of his organization - to enable the families of CHC’s foster children or their neighbors accommodating the orphans to survive because most of them belong to the poorest of poor. “That adds up to more than 650 locals who Charles and his social team members constantly supply with foodstuff,” CHC President Fokko Doyen explains.
Achieving major effects with only little money
Helping those in need in Kenya does not take much. A donation of 60 euros suffices to feed a family of 5 or 6 for an entire month.
Senior Social Worker, Charles Muigai, who works at the Mothers’ Mercy Home, is responsible for all logistical matters and the distribution of the food bags to the receivers The Mothers’ Mercy Home is a multi-purpose building which normally houses the orphans, and where CHC’s relief and medical activities are carried out.
As of today, fundraising initiatives have led to a donation volume surpassing 45,000 euros, of which 32,000 euros have been spent in local markets to obtain the food needed for distribution. According to Mr. Doyen, the response to CHC’s donation appeals has been overwhelming. “This includes creative initiatives of two Lufthansa Cargo employees who sew and sell face masks using the fabric of former uniforms of the airline staff, donating 3 euros per mask to our Sponsorship Program,” the CHC Head enthuses.
Locusts = famine = rising fatality
Part of the money generated so far was transferred to the village of Marsabit, located 500 km northeast of Nairobi. There, CHC built a school named Wings Academy in 2012, which has since been continuously expanded, most recently last year with the addition of two classrooms to the premises.
150 students are accommodated at the facility, with CHC paying 50% of the teachers' salaries. “It is a rural area with an utterly destitute population,” Fokko Doyen illustrates. “And what has made things even worse was the massive invasion of locusts, devouring crops and turning acreage into wasteland. So without food aid, there will be high mortality,” he concludes.
Freighters have become a rare sight at NBO
Hit extremely hard by two simultaneous plagues: Covid-19, and the locust invasion, the Kenyan example shows how fragile, if not to say brutal, an economic situation can suddenly become, turning from normal to disastrous within weeks. For decades, the country has made a name of itself as Africa’s largest exporter of flowers, followed by Ethiopia. A flourishing business evidenced every day and night by many freighters taking off from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport, fully loaded with flowers and vegetables bound for consumer markets in Europe and the Middle East. Hence, the export of agricultural products has become the backbone of the Kenyan economy, guaranteeing many nationals jobs and income. This ended in March when the Corona pandemic broke out, leading to lockdowns, a near standstill of flight operations and the dying out of tourist flows; another important business sector contributing to Kenya’s GDP. “It is haunting. From the former dense air traffic in Nairobi, only two cargo flights per week have remained,” Fokko Doyen wonders. And these are not operated by Lufthansa Cargo. “We will not resume freighter services to Nairobi after the pandemic is over,” he states, pointing to upcoming network changes.
Lufthansa Cargo continues CHC support unabated
But two aspects comfort him: the resumption of passenger flights to Nairobi at a time not yet specified. Once launched, dozens of German medics can board a Lufthansa aircraft, and resume their voluntary work for CHC. A perspective strongly advocated by Chief Commercial Officer, Dorothea von Boxberg of Lufthansa Cargo. “Despite the airline's difficult financial situation, we were assured that Cargo Human Care can rely on the full support of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo also in post Covid-19 times,” Captain Fokko Doyen applauds.
PS: Here are CHC’s bank details if you wish to donate:
Bank: Wiesbadener Volksbank
IBAN: DE57 5109 0000 0049 4040 00
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