As the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact more countries around the world, it has shone a light on inequality around the world – both between and within nations. Whilst the disease originated in China, the epicentre soon shifted to Europe and then onto North America. The human cost in these countries has been terrible, particularly within deprived, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The human cost of COVID-19 has been terrible, particularly withindeprived, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Click To Tweet

On the whole, governments have been able to respond with a variety of measures to ensure that national medical services have not been significantly overwhelmed and those vulnerable members of society were protected – be that from a health or economic perspective.

Thankfully the disease so far has not taken off to the same extent in Kenya as it has elsewhere. Kenya lacks the necessary medical equipment to cope with a large COVID-19 outbreak, for example, the country has a little over 500 ICU beds to serve a population of almost 54 million. Kenya is receiving international support in their efforts to control COVID-19 but this support can be slow in materialising so will likely fall short if transmission rates increase exponentially as we have seen elsewhere.

As discussed in an earlier blog, many people in Kenya are living well below the poverty line – lacking basic amenities such as access to clean water and living in very overcrowded conditions. This makes the major components of the recommended public health measures – social distancing and hygiene – extremely difficult to implement. Government measures to control the spread of the disease have had terrible economic consequences for many, pushing them into crisis with little or no safety net. In many cases, communities are relying on the support of charities in order to survive.

The African Yoga Project (AYP) was set up in 2006 with the aim of promoting health and well-being across the continent. The organisation operates through its network of over 400 trained instructors who before the COVID-19 outbreak were providing community yoga classes in 360 locations across Africa.

Help @africayoga provide wellbeing kits and food aid to #covid19 vulnerable communities in Kenya Click To Tweet

The organisation has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Here strict social distancing rules mean that community gatherings are not possible, resulting in AYP not being able to offer their usual support and service to communities. In order to continue in their goal to provide health and wellbeing support, AYP acted quickly to adapt to the difficult circumstances in front of them.

Through its network of AYP instructors, the organisation has been able to identify very quickly what the community needed in order to cope with the crisis. In its first phase of action, AYP created and distributed wellbeing kits which included a wellbeing information booklet for mental as well as physical health, face masks, washcloths, soap, hand sanitiser, disinfectant, clean water, bread and colouring materials for kids. In 3 weeks, the organisation delivered over 1,400 kits to 55 communities across Kenya.

As the crisis has deepened, AYP reached out to communities via its teacher network to determine what was most needed. Overwhelmingly, communities were asking for food and drinking water in order to survive. In response to this, AYP have been providing food aid to vulnerable communities who are struggling to get by. Funds are disbursed from the AYP team in Nairobi to its teacher network who are then able to get food to those in most need. With as little as $200, AYP teachers have been able to feed 20 families for a period of 2 weeks. In this second phase of assistance, $20,000 has been dispersed to vulnerable communities.

Support @africayoga by using the code WELLBEINGAFRICA at checkout and receive a 25% off our hand-printed shirts Click To Tweet

We at Wild Rose have been supporting AYP in their efforts by channelling £10 from the sale of each shirt to their project. Over the past 4 weeks, we have managed to send over £500 which has made a difference to communities in Kenya but clearly more needs to be done. We will continue our support and are still offering our customers a 25% discount using the code WELLBEINGAFRICA as a thank you for supporting this initiative.

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