Kenya: Trapped in the violence

Deep creases in Mary's forehead reveal her concern for her children. Mary has two children with mental disabilities and two children she took in from the streets. She was already struggling to care for her family when post-election violence broke out in Nairobi, Kenya.

Late one night she and her family packed their few belongings and fled their home in the slums of Nairobi due to increased violence in their community. They found space in a neighboring slum-just the small corner of a shack with a mud floor.

Seven-year-old John and his eleven-year-old sister Margaret cannot attend school now because of the violence in the streets. All four of Mary's children remain in the shack all day, their glazed eyes searching to understand the violence they've witnessed over the past three weeks.

"What am I supposed to do? How can I protect my children in this chaos?" Mary asks as tears well up in her eyes.

CCF and local partners are working to provide basic food and hygiene supplies, as well as protection and psychosocial support to families like Mary's. CCF-Kenya has begun plans to open several Child Centered Spaces-CCF's model for providing safe, community-based and supportive spaces for children to learn, play and recover from disasters. The centers also serve as spaces for parents to meet with others, access information and rally peer support.

CCF is also working with young people in the most affected areas of Kenya to mobilize and channel their energy in a positive direction to promote protection and peace-building in their communities.