Historically, the concept of donating money to help strangers has not been something readily thought about in East Africa. For the first time in Kenyan History, there is a current campaign underway called “Kenyans Helping Kenyans”. This cause is focused on helping fellow country men, women and children who are starving and dying of thirst in drought ridden areas of the country.
Everyone is getting involved; the taxi drivers, the day-to-day mothers, students and businessmen. Everyone is donating, via the mobile phone texting system, shillings in all amounts. Every person that you talk to will share with you that they have donated, maybe its only 10 shillings, but they are a part of this cause. They will also share with you that they are now learning that it is not required that you be rich to be able to help your fellow Kenyan and to make a difference.
They are not looking to the outside world for assistance because they can do it themselves. And everyone wants to be a part of it. In over 2 weeks, this cause has raised over 500 million shillings to provide desperately needed corn, beans and water to drought and food deprived areas of Kenya. And they are not stopping there. Their newest target is one billion shillings in the next four weeks.
The corporations are getting involved as well. Kenyan Airways is providing jets to deliver the food, the Petrol companies are donating fuel, phone providers are managing the banking logistics and many companies are matching their employees’ contributions (another first in Kenya’s history). Kenya Red Cross is managing all the food and water distribution processes. All parties are holding each other accountable and all parties are making sure the public is kept apprised of the progress. Trust is building day by day.
For the first time, the people in the streets are feeling the “Power of WE”. My favorite quote was when my taxi driver said, “I am not a rich man and I have many problems of my own but I now know that my small contribution is a part of something much bigger than me”.
A new era is dawning! I am excited to be able to witness a small step toward the new future.