Give A Child Life (GCL) is headquartered in Silverado, California. Our programs focus on very impoverished communities. Currently 1 billion people are living in urban slums. By 2030, the number is projected to reach two billion. Few environments are more deadly to children, with raw sewage, high rates of disease, contaminated water, a lack of hygiene and thousands of men and women looking for work.
40,000 people live in Kiandutu, a sprawling slum of cardboard shacks and pencil cactus fences.
In a country where one in five young children is malnourished and one in three shows signs of stunted growth, 16% of children die before finishing grade school. In a recent GCL survey of 95 residents of Kiandutu, 92% reported that their children were hungry and 26% had lost at least one child under the age of five to a preventable disease such as pneumonia or diarrhea. About 20% had at least one family member with HIV/AIDS. Over a third of the adults never attended school.
In Kiandutu, GCL works through GCL Kenya, a registered local nongovernmental organization. Our close partners are the village elders, two of whom work five days a week with GCL. They identify families and children in crisis, connect with resources such as the government health department, define local needs, maintain relationships with officials, deliver program services and collect feedback. In January 2013, at the village elders' request, GCL purchased a mud building in the heart of the slum to serve as a community demonstration center and home for its feeding programs. The compound is named Shamba La Watoto or Children's Garden. Forty families belong to GCLK and receive intensive services. But services are also available to any other child five or under in desperate need. Programs include feeding, medical care, health monitoring, infant and child care center support, gardening programs, livelihood assistance, Mabati Bulbs and other services as needed.