, 19 April, 2020 / 6:30 PM
A joint initiative between a diocese and an Archdiocese in Kenya to mobilize resources that can help families struggling with providing for their basic needs because of COVID-19 restrictions was launched Thursday, April 16.
The initiative that involves the Archdiocese of Nyeri located in Central Kenya and the Diocese of Kitui in Eastern Kenya includes a call center to assist those who may be in distress as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let us help vulnerable families by providing them with food and other necessities. We welcome donations in all forms,” Archbishop of Nyeri, Anthony Muheria said during the Thursday, April 16 launch at Our Lady of Consolata Cathedral, Nyeri.
The Hope4U initiative aims to raise an estimated US$1.2 million to help feed at least 10,000 families in the two regions and beyond, for a period of two months.
During the launch, Archbishop Muheria called on well-wishers to support the initiative “either for one day, one week or one month as well as inviting other well-wishers.”
Through the initiative, a well-wisher can donate US$2 for a day, US$15 for a week, or US$60 for a month, or any amount for the course of vulnerable families.
On his part, the Bishop-elect of Kitui Diocese, Joseph Mwongela clarified that well-wishers can also offer other forms of support saying, “because our people have some farm products, we can also give maize, beans, flour or whatever else people may have.”
COVID-19 restrictions put in place by the Kenyan government have negatively affected many in the East African country including loss of jobs and sources of income.
During Easter Sunday Mass, Archbishop Muheria urged leaders from all walks of life to support the vulnerable people in the society, and to do so “without cameras.”
“We have become so selfish and self-centered that when we are asked to help other people during this pandemic the only thing we think of is our business, properties, power, reputation and so forth,” the 56-year-old Prelate said during Easter Sunday Mass that was broadcast by government-run television, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
He added, “This is the time to give one tunic if you have two, share lunch if you have enough, give rent waiver, donate part of your savings to help others afford food and other basic items.”
Archbishop emeritus of Nyeri Archdiocese, Peter Kairu and Kitui’s Bishop-elect, Joseph Mwongela are the trustees of the Hope4U initiative.
At the same April 16 event, the Good Shepherd Call Center was launched.
The center is expected to help people “who may have issues of suicidal tendencies, fear, sickness or general anxiety” arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Anyone will call free of charge when they are in a difficult situation. We have a team of thirty people who are willing to volunteer, and a group of eight psychologists who are backing up this initiative,” Archbishop Muheria said during the launch.
On Twitter, the Archbishop posted, in reference to the Good Shepherd initiative, “In this Corona restriction many people suffer stress, anxiety, low emotions etc. A Christian based Counselling & Support Free Toll Call center supported by clergy & Psychological counsellors 0800 723 555. To give Hope & positivity to people in this situation. Jesus Cares!”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa