Direct Relief Aid for Kisumu

Friday, February 1, 2008
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Sukuma Kenya was set up a few weeks ago by Dipesh Pabari, close friend, dedicated Kenyan journalist and activist. It’s the charity I recommend to everyone who asks where they can donate to ease the suffering of displaced Kenyans. First, because I can personally vouch that EVERY PENNY you donate, beyond transaction fees, goes directly to the relief effort. All those involved are volunteers – no overhead costs.

Secondly, because it channels the relief efforts through a Kisumu organization, Ladies in Action, that has been in operation for several years. The Ladies in Action are all long-term Kisumu residents (many were born there) who have chosen not to flee the crisis. They know Kisumu better than any outside relief organization.

Here is Dipesh’s appeal:

How many more must die? How many more must lose their homes, their farms, their livelihoods? The weekend was a bloodbath in Nakuru and Naivasha. I spoke to a close friend in Nakuru who is huddled in a house with other Kikuyus as they listen to the screams of people who were once friends calling for their blood. Already two of her aunts were killed in the earlier violence in Burnt Forest. A Reuters article has "Kenya’s Rift Valley burns and death toll soars" and Kisumu was ablaze again.

And as the people fight a battle against themselves instead of against the injustices brought on by years of exploitation by the very leaders we vote for, the Ladies in Action continue to feed. My mother founded the Ladies in Action several years ago to help orphans and elderly people primarily. When the post-election crises broke out my wife, Elodie and I created Sukuma Kenya as a way to reach out through our friends to help upscale the outreach for Ladies in Action. 

We have had an amazing response from people all around the world and in just three weeks, we collected £5000! Most of it has been used up to buy food items in bulk such as maize flour, cooking oil, sugar and also blankets and some medical supplies. With the escalating problem, Ladies in Action are going to need more help so please help and spread the word or make a small donation online. Ladies in Action are a registered charity in Kenya and are affliated to the Jersey Oversees Aid whose network of smaller organisations is helping receive the funds and transfer it to Kenya.

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About Shailja Patel

Shailja Patel is a Kenyan poet, writer and theatre artist who has performed at venues from New York's  Lincoln Center to the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Patel's first full-length show, Migritude, premiered in the San Francisco Bay Area, and toured Kenya to critical acclaim in 2007. The show was selected as the subject of the 2007 season premiere of SPARK! –  KQED TV's award-winning arts programme .Patel's work has received awards from, among others, the Ford Foundation, the National Performance Network, and Indian American Women Empowered. Most recently, she is a founding member of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, a coalition of Kenyan citizens and legal, governance, and human rights organizations, working towards a viable peace in the Kenya Crisis stemming from the December 2007 elections.