By Antony Blaize
Corona knows no race. Corona knows no tribe. Corona knows no religion.
But it is the last aspect of the corona pandemic affecting all faith communities that I would like to delve more in to, even as some corners question the voice of the faithful during this time. From keeping the lent month or observing the holy month of Ramadan; different faiths have felt the impact of the pandemic in equal measure.
With the churches, temples and mosques closed following the government directives as part of the measure to contain the spread of the virus, many of the faith communities within the most vulnerable communities have been affected immensely. The Kibra community being the biggest slum in the country with approximately 1M Kenyans occupying an area of 2.5 square meters has not been spared as numbers of those testing positive on the rise. The Kibra residents are very susceptible as they lack the basic requirements to fight corona virus as many live from hand to mouth.
Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) partnered with the Hindu Council of Kenya (HCK) to help cushion the Kibra people during this pandemic. HCK is part of the 9 members of Religious Coordinating Bodies (RCBs) of IRCK. HCK through its Directorate of Relief and Welfare HCK donated among other things: 10 of 250 litres water tanks and 500ml hand washing detergents. IRCK which is the secretariat that coordinates the affairs of all major faith communities in Kenya through its grassroots structures was able to identify the most needy self-help groups and other platforms through a monitoring process.
Kibra Network for Muslim Persons With Disability, ABIC Islamic Centre, Wema Women Group, Women United for Hope, Makongeni Youth Reform, Tunza Africa, Kanyaikia, Marafiki Green Leaders, Linda Care and Al Maida Youth Group were the beneficiaries of the initiative as they were required to set up hand washing stations at their respective organizations.
Accessibility to clean water, which is the most needed tool in fighting the corona pandemic was a major setback among the Kibra community.
It is difficult for our people to be told to wear masks and wash hands when actually they are not fully equipped to fight this pandemic.”
“It is difficult for our people to be told to wear masks and wash hands when actually they are not fully equipped to fight this pandemic. May God bless the hands that have donated this and remembered that we truly have people in need to think about,” remarked Sheikh. Jamaldin Yahya of the ABIC Islamic Centre while receiving the donations on behalf of his congregation.
“Haya tank za maji ndio tunataka hapa.Asanteni sana na tunaomba waislamu wenzetu wazingatie zile taratibu zimewekwa za kuosha mkono kama njia ya kuzuia corona” added David Owino of the Linda Care.
He urged other well-wishers to continue with the good work of taking care of the poor and vulnerable among us during this pandemic.