As the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in the UK begins to bite, founder of charity Tushinde Children’s Trust, Megan Wright warns of the spiralling effect of this on a global scale and urges those who can, not to neglect those in need overseas.
“The cost-of-living crisis is not just affecting Brits but is a global issue. We see the impact of the Ukraine conflict spill over into our daily lives, but this is only a fraction of what those already living in challenging conditions are experiencing. In informal settlements in Kenya, we’re seeing an increase in malnutrition first-hand, supported by estimations that up to 23 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are facing acute hunger due to drought.
“Many agencies across the world have reduced international aid funding, including the UK which announced in 2020 it was cutting humanitarian funding by more than half. We see the real-life consequences of this, coupled with drought and a general global cost of living crisis.
“A real-life example of this relates to our day-care centre in Mathare where we provide babies and toddlers with nutritious food and monitor their growth. If a child is underweight when they join us, we refer them to a feeding programme. We’re seeing more children being referred, but at the same time, the feeding programme has been forced to adapt its criteria for enrolling on the scheme as a direct consequence of reduced funding.
“How this works in practice is that the methodology for qualifying for the programme is based on a child’s arm circumference, This threshold has decreased, so a child has to be even more malnourished than before to qualify for the supplements. We’re undoubtedly seeing an increase in child malnutrition, and this will just get worse.”
Tushinde Children’s Trust was founded by Megan Wright in 2010, who was motivated to set it up when living in Kenya and seeing the conditions of those living in the informal settlements in Mathare. ‘Tushinde’ which means ‘We succeed’ in Kiswahili, provides family support to help vulnerable children thrive, including covering costs of schooling, provision of social workers to support families and running a day centre for 35-40 infants and toddlers.
As a small charity, Tushinde runs on tight margins, with a very small team delivering required services and support. Megan said:
“If we lose funding, we don’t have anywhere to cut costs other than the direct services for the children we’re meant to be helping.”
Tushinde relies on donations from the public and partner organisations and being a UK-registered charity, is able to apply for government grants and funding. One of the programmes it was receiving funds from, the Small Charities Challenge Fund, is ending in December this year as a result of the reduction in foreign aid spending from the UK government.
“We know many people are struggling right now, but many of those overseas are struggling even more, and there is no safety net whatsoever to fall back on. We hope that those who are able to support small charities like Tushinde, do consider doing so, in any way that they can.”
For more information, please visit: https://tushinde.org.uk/.