Kenya is at 3215 cases as at today on 12th June 2020 and while more people are testing positive and being taken to quarantine areas set aside by the government, everyone who is negative is being asked to stay at home, beaten for not observing curfews and arrested for trying to fend for themselves. Covid-19 has had jobs being cancelled, schools being closed and people being asked to stay home with little or no essential items to keep them going all while having nothing. Having identified a need for food and other essential items like sanitary products in the wake of this pandemic, Kisumu feminists society set up a mutual aid drive that was aimed at breaking the silence around radical community care in Western Kenya. This drive involved giving out what we described as a “care package” to women and girls we identified/reached out to us, a majority of them being young LBQ women from informal settlements with little or no access to existing spaces for LGBTI persons. Items in this package were food, sanitary products, medicine for those in need, beddings and printed information on covid 19 which were meant to sustain them for as long as one month for most of them don’t have formal jobs that provide the financial security needed to buy things (read hoard) like the rest.
We have sent care packages to 65 women in Kisumu and its environs with our last full donations being sent on April 8th after which we have had to pause for a while. More requests for food kept on coming yet we had no more items to give out as this situation worsened. This is why we are still seeking organizational support and working on providing something long term for 50 beneficiaries for say 5 to 6 months at most because Kenya as a country is asking us, people who survive from hand to mouth to stay at home without food and other essential items that will ensure their comfortable stay at home in the wake of this pandemic and social distancing. We currently have 40 plus more requests from women, trans and gnc persons in need of food, shelter, medicine and rent with some of them being young LBQ persons at a risk of going homeless after being outed to their parents therefore leaving them with no place to go to. We are looking for resources to buy these items and send them to their places while they are still available on the shelf for our main aim is making this covid 19 pandemic easier on our members who don’t have the financial privilege to access (read hoard) items like the rest. Our main priority will be immuncopromised queer folks, young LBQ mothers and LBQ and we would appreciate any donations sent our way right now.
Images from the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Drive, April 2020