As Kenya joins the world in marking this year’s Mother’s day, despite the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has besieged the continent, three Mombasa women narrate their struggles, challenges and fete.
Amina Abdalla, has been on the forefront to ensure the mentally challenged are safe amid the pandemic.
Every day, she walks around the street in search of those grappling with mental challenges and takes them to Port Reitz hospital to get treatment.
Ms Amina, a director at the Coast Development Authority and the chairperson Mombasa Women Empowerment Network has made it her business to make sure that people living with disability and the mentally challenged get the best services despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Friday, in conjunction with the County government, she opened a facility that will provide medical services to the mentally ill.
“The facility which can accommodate 120 people, is situated at the Kenya National Coast Polytechnic will not only be providing medical services for the mentally disorderly but also provide food for them until they get well,” she said.
Amina said so far 7 people who were at the Port Reitz mental hospital have been reunited by their families after getting treatment.
Apart from that, Amina has led the distribution of sanitary towels and soap to the people which cost her over Sh500, 000.
However, she mentioned financial constraints as one of the major challenges she faces while making sure that people get a good life despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I also have my family which always looks up on me and most of the times, they get scared that I might get infected while taking care of other people. My health and self-protection comes first since I also take care of my old mother,” said Amina.
Amina says with her asthmatic child who needs to be taken good care of and tries her best not to put her at the risk of contracting Covid-19.
Topister Juma, a human rights activist and working at the Muslim for Human Rights (MUHURI) is a champion in fighting for the rights of women and children.
Since Covid-19 hit the country, Topister has been using radio talk shows to sensitize the residents.
Through the talk shows, she has been sensitizing the people on reporting domestic and sexual violence.
“I have been informing the people that despite there being a curfew, police stations and hospitals are still open and any one can make a report without fear,” she said.
She says that since the curfew was enforced, cases of domestic violence and defilement have gone up since people are scared of reporting and going to the hospitals.
“We also came up with a mechanism on mediation and counselling through phone calls since we cannot reach the people. The hotline number is 0725 272 390,” she added.
Topister says motivation is one of the gains she has received after getting overwhelming response from the people who have been calling on the talk shows and the hotline number to report their cases.
“From these responses, we do follow up on cases and make sure that the people have been assisted. It also helps in getting well-wishers who come forth to assist the victims,” added Topister.
However, Topister has been labelled as an enemy of men since most of the cases she receives are from women undergoing domestic violence from their spouses.
“Men feel that I do not support them and are always against me calling me a single mother. They don’t know that I am a married woman with three kids,” she said.
Topister also has adopted four other kids who she takes care of as her own and also asked men to report anytime they feel their rights are violated.
She has complained of being targeted by perpetrators of violence and defilement to an extent of threatening her life.
“I have received several phone calls from people asking me to stop following up cases that have been reported and I have moved several houses in a bid to protect my family,” she added.
Rose Juma, a single mother living with autism said she will celebrate this mother’s day with a smile on her face for the far she has reached with her 10 year old boy.
“Although autistic, I treat my son with a lot of love and make sure that he feels special having me beside him,” said Rose.
Rose for the last 10 years, has single handedly taken care of her son who learns at the Sahajanad special school in Mtwapa and said she does not pamper her son saying that he has to grow up knowing that he can also take care of himself.
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