‘I told them to hide in the roof. They knew to be quiet when the men beat me’
This is the harrowing account of one of the three mothers who we work with who was beaten this weekend in the post-election violence. Mama Winston (not her real name) had her house broken into by what she thinks was either the police in plain clothes or thugs sanctioned by the police, who said they were looking for the men starting the violence. They beat her unconscious and took her money. Three children were hiding between the ceiling panel and the tin roof. One of them, a 14-year-old boy was one of our rising stars last year and has been doing really well at secondary. He, his siblings, and the children from the other two families have all witnessed their mothers being beaten by gangs ‘searching’ the area, and have felt powerless. Who knows what impact this will have on these children? We have another 18-month old baby who has respiratory problems from the tear gas. So far we have given out 11 food parcels to families in dire straits. We need to be careful though as the whole of Mathare is hungry and people are desperate for food, so families collect their food parcels in instalments. We have taken on more families who have been severely injured or displaced. One mother with a baby, toddler and a nine year old, chose to leave their house and sleep in front of a shop on the main road as they felt safer there; ‘I was scared they were going to rape my daughter and no-one would help us’. We can help these families. Our Community Health Volunteers are working tirelessly and bravely to help families caught up in the violence. Our social workers are doing all they can to ensure that families get the medical treatment they need.
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