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Karika

 

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About Karika Background

Karika is located in the slum known as Riruta,bordering Kawangware,an area of 7.3sqkm,located in the Dagoretti womenofkarikadivision of Nairobi. 65,958 people live in this area in very basic accommodation. Most homes consists of ‘shanty like’ corrugated iron structures no more than 9 sq ft. There is no running water, no electricity and no sanitation.  There is a high increase of one or two parent orphans in the area of Riruta due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  Ageing people are being called upon to assist with their grandchildren.  The elderly people have no way of earning an income and have no pension, therefore they are under huge financial strain.

Mission

To support ageing people in the community; to make them self sufficient and remove them from the poverty trap. It aspires to advocate on behalf of the ageing people to ensure a better future and to give them hope in life.

About Elijah Mwega

Mwega’s father died when he was 14. His mum was then disinherited by his fathers family leaving her with only one plot of land to live on and putting her under huge financial strain. Mwega wanted to continue his education and took it upon himself to write to the head master of the school to explain his situation. Luckily three teachers agreed to pay for his fees and he completed Form Four. He got a job with the Government as a civil servant and managed to put his brothers and sisters through school as a result. Unfortunately, his fathers family tried to claim the final plot of land which caused a family feud and caused great stress to his mother. She finally died from health complications.

Through this experience Mwega realized the pain and suffering experienced by ageing people and orphans. Over the years his need to do something got stronger and he gathered the courage to leave the security of his job with the civil service where he worked for 15 years. He has since dedicated his time to this project.

About the Group

Karika started as a self help group at an open air site under a tree. They used to meet twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In the past they have generated income through activities such as making jewellery, soap making and sewing. The group used to provide food for orphaned or vulnerable children on Saturdays but due to funding issues this is becoming more difficult. They used to  rent a room less than a hundred meters from where they started which consisted of a corrugated iron building 8ft by 10ft.  This was their home for over 10 years. They carried out their activities in a small room.  In 2013 the Kairka room was torn down and the group were left homeless.  Thankfully due to community support they recieved a small plot on which they built a very small community centre once again made of corrugated iron.  The community recognised the importance of the older people in the community to which Karika is very grateful.  The group continues to be  run by Elijah Mwega who is assisted by Violet Kagai Akama. They give their time on a voluntary basis.