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A young girl smiles in her wheelchair, surrounded by children from her community
4 January 2024

Cared for in the darkest of times

Once considered a curse, Sandra is now getting the help she needs

There is enough nourishing food for all children to thrive and for families to be more resilient. 

But right now, 258 million people are facing acute food insecurity in 58 countries across the world. 

World Vision believes that every child deserves the food they need to develop a healthy body and mind. Every family deserves to be able to put enough of the right food on the table.  

Malnutrition in Kenya  

Kenya is one of these 58 countries. Climate change and soaring prices mean that 4.4 million people are in need of food assistance. Kenya also has high rates of malnutrition – 29% in rural areas and 20% in urban areas.  

A Kenyan woman pushes her disabled younger sister in her wheelchair
Sandra was born with cerebral palsy and lives on the seventh floor with her sister and her family

Life was difficult

The youngest of five children, Sandra, 12, lives in urban Kenya. Sandra has cerebral palsy – a set of disorders that vary in severity but affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance.  

When Sandra was born and diagnosed, her father and two eldest brothers abandoned the family, believing she was a curse.  

Life from then onwards was very difficult for the family. Left alone to raise her remaining children, Sandra’s mum eventually became sick and passed away. This left older sister Rebecca to care for Sandra and their remaining brother. Rebecca was forced to drop out of school.  

The family live in one room 

Today Rebecca is married with three children of her own. The family – now seven in total – live in one room, on the top floor of a seven-story building. As she is unable to walk, this makes it difficult to move Sandra anywhere.  

Rebecca’s husband is a mechanic, but he doesn’t have regular work. Neither does Rebecca, who needs to stay home and care for Sandra. This puts huge financial pressure on the family and means there’s a daily battle just to have enough food.  

Additionally, Sandra’s condition means she needs medication, regular therapy and incontinence nappies, all of which come at a high cost for the family. 

The cost of hunger 

Malnutrition leaves children’s bodies with little strength to fight against illnesses that healthy bodies can withstand.  

Sandra has been diagnosed with malnutrition and often gets sick. When this happens, she needs extra medication that the family can’t afford. 

But thanks to World Vision supporters, Sandra is now getting the support she needs.  

A local community development facilitator has been working closely with the family, providing counselling and advocating on their behalf.  

Through World Vision, Sandra has been provided with a wheelchair. She has also received nutritional supplements to help her get to a healthy weight and financial assistance with her medication.  

Additionally, Sandra’s condition is being assessed so she can get official recognition as a person living with a disability. Rebecca is also applying to be her legal guardian, which will mean further assistance from the government.  

Members of a family in urban Kenya, sitting on their sofa and smiling
Sandra’s sister Rebecca (second from right) is receiving psychosocial support to ease the mental load

Wider support 

Understandably, in caring for her younger siblings from a young age, Rebecca has experienced trauma. Psychosocial support has been helping her cope and easing the mental load.  

She is also receiving training to start up a small fish farming business that will supplement the family’s income. However, this will have its challenges since, with Sandra’s restricted mobility, Rebecca’s customers will need to come to her.  

Though the family’s situation is still precarious, Rebecca says World Vision has cared for them in their darkest times and helped them survive. 

World Vision in Kenya 

World Vision is supporting children, their families and communities in urban and rural parts of Kenya.

In 2022, World Vision Kenya reached 3 million people (nearly 2.3 million children) through transformative projects including feeding programmes for schools, emergency cash for the families who are most vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition, and skills training.

Staircase in building with washing hanging from rails
Urban communities face different challenges to rural communities
Street in urban Kenya with towering buildings
People have no access to land to grow their own food
Children having fun with a World Vision staff member
But there are more than 2,500 sponsored children living in this community
Kenyan woman poses with produce from her home run business
And World Vision is giving mothers and carers the chance to build an income

Solutions to hunger and malnutrition 

As part of our ENOUGH campaign, World Vision is pledging US$3.5 billion dollars in the next three years towards ending child hunger and malnutrition. 

You can be a part of this, joining with others across the world to make a longer-lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable children. 

Learn more