Lea Toto assists close to 8,500 HIV+ children and their siblings living within eight resource-poor communities across Nairobi. There are currently 1.6 million people living with HIV in Kenya, of which over 100,000 are children. Kibera is Africa’s largest slum with over half a million occupants and is only one of many slums in Nairobi. Cramped make-shift dwellings are crowded together offering little space or privacy. As there is no sanitation system, the streets are little more than open drains and rubbish is deposited at random. The inhabitants are poor and struggle to feed their families; very few have the extra money for expensive anti-retroviral medication or to pay school fees, in many instances where parents have been lost to AIDS children are trying to survive in child headed households.
Nyumbani initiated a community based outreach program in 1998 named Lea Toto (Swahili for ‘raising the child’). Through this programme Nyumbani identifies orphaned, abandoned or endangered children living with HIV/AIDS and offers these children medical care including access to anti-retroviral drugs, counselling and social support through clinics that it operates.
Emotional and trauma counselling is also offered to the children and in many cases Lea Toto provides support with food parcels and help to stay in school through the provision of uniforms, books and school and exam fees.
The programme aims to give very real chances to survive and improve their situation to children living in desperate conditions. By helping with health and education we hope to give these children the tools to pull themselves out of poverty.