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Unbound news

Families, staff affected by attacks in Kenya

June 6, 2014

NAIROBI, Kenya — The livelihoods of some families in Unbound's program in Kenya suffered after recent terror attacks spread fear across the country.

Kibera slum
Photo from Unbound's archives.
Despite recent terror attacks on public places in Kenya, social workers
with Unbound's Nairobi project continue to visit families in communities
such as this one in the Kibera slum.

"It is a difficult time for our families as well," said Lillian Naka, support mothers group coordinator for Unbound in Nairobi. "Some of our mothers work in the market that was bombed."

At least 12 people died and 70 were injured after explosions at Nairobi's Gikomba market May 16, according to news reports. Mothers in Unbound's program were not among the injured.

"They no longer feel safe going to their place of work, and their customers are also keeping away," Naka said in the aftermath of the attacks. "This means that their businesses have come to a halt."

The ongoing sponsorship assistance through Unbound helps families weather crises such as a temporary loss of income. Education, food, livelihood programs and microloans are among the benefits available to families in Kenya.

An atmosphere of fear makes it more difficult for families and the Unbound staff to go about their work and daily lives, said Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Nairobi.

"Going to malls, to church and boarding buses have become such a scary part of Kenyans' everyday lives because we do not know what the terrorists are targeting next," Mburu said.

Security has been beefed up and was especially tight for the June 1 celebrations marking Kenya's 51st anniversary of independence, Mburu said. The Unbound staff in Kenya continues to visit families of sponsored children and elderly people in their neighborhoods and villages.

"As social workers, it has been quite a challenge going to the field because we fear," said Diana Gatwiri, a staff member who works with families living in the Mathare slum communities. "It has been quite scary going to the slums to conduct home visits.

"The panic of explosions and insecurity in the country is really weighing us down in the course of our work."

A group retaliating against Kenya's military involvment in Somalia is suspected of carrying out attacks targeting public places, according to news reports.

"Unfortunately, in the wake of terror attacks in the country, Muslims and Somalis are facing discrimination," Mburu said.

Unbound works with people of diverse cultures and faith traditions in 21 countries around the world. The Unbound program provides a space in which families from different tribal affiliations, races, religions and national origins can work together to better their lives.

Through their participation in the Unbound program, they help create peace and unity in their communities and in the world.

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