As he celebrates his 31st birthday this month, Francis Amonde is using the occasion to improve his school feeding program Cup of Uji. This is a personal initiative with which Francis provides under privileged school children with a cup of porridge daily to meet their nutritional needs. This is a huge undertaking for an individual and he has only been able to go so far. As he clocks 31 years, he is appealing to Kenyans to donate Ksh.31/- to enable him cover even more children.
The Cup of Uji initiative which kicked off around seven years ago does not stop at porridge, but also provides sanitary towels, education scholarships and mentorship for the students. Francis understood how skipping meals would affect the health and well being of these children throughout their entire lives, leading to huge and irrecoverable consequences. Moved by empathy, he took it upon himself to try to make a difference in these children’s lives, despite being a university student with little resources of his own.
Cup of Uji is a brilliant intervention because one, studying effectively on an empty stomach is near impossible and two, malnutrition has a direct negative effect on early education. Malnutrition is not just lack of food but also lack of proper nutrients and micronutrients to feed the body and the brain. Porridge is a compact and highly nutritious meal with doses of vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and other micronutrients that are necessary for the optimal growth of our young ones. It is proven to improve immunity for kids, ensure better physical performance and enhance concentration in school. Ultimately good nutrition improves academic performance and this is what we want for all our children.
Francis case perfectly demonstrates Safaricom’s call for Kenyans to come through for one another through the spirit of Tuinuane, to lift each other’s spirits in whatever small way we can. Kenyans’ togetherness always shines through collective adversity, with clear cases like the Kenyans for Kenyans drive that saw us raise millions for hunger-stricken brothers and sisters in Turkana back in 2011. More recently, Kenyans have raised more funds under Safaricom’s Pamoja Tuungane program, in which thousands have donated their accrued bonga points to be converted into food donations for our brothers and sisters up North.
There are many cases of Tuinuane and in this series, we have looked at other examples like MTG which is shaping the lives of girls through football in Kilifi. MTG uses the powerful combination of sports and education to mentor and encourage hundreds of girls in the area to make better lives for themselves and for their families. Catch the story here.
We also have the story of Annastacia Serah Mwende who is helping people rebuild their businesses through provision of half bales of secondhand clothes to those who cannot afford the cost of full ones. You can read her impactful story here.
On Safaricom’s part as they call on us to inua one another, the telco is also supporting us in these tough economic times through interventions like offers and discounts on data and calls, Ndoto Zetu, enabling the use of Bonga Points for shopping and discounted access to education through Shupavu 291.
In the spirit of Tuinuane, be kind to someone. They will be kind to someone else in return and in the end, we will be a happier people who have helped each other ease the struggles of everyday life.