Following ‘Terry’s’ story in our 3rd Newsletter edition of July 2020, the situation in Lebanon continued to deteriorate especially after the big explosion at the port of the capital city, Beirut on 4th August 2020. This was followed shortly by a full government resignation which gave rise to an increased military presence on the control of the civil space. Demonstrations rocked Beirut and other cities with Lebanese citizens calling for fresh elections.
As the above scenario was unfolding in Lebanon, the many Kenyans (99% women, some with small children) who had been stranded in the country for lack of means or money to travel back home staged a dramatic demonstration in front of the Kenyan consulate in Beirut on 13th August 2020. They got in touch with CHTEA to seek for further help from the Kenyan side with the government. A letter was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking for intervention on the matter. CHTEA further got in touch with a non-governmental partner in Beirut who agreed to explore ways of offering help to the stranded Kenyans.
A Miracle Shipment
Eventually, the Lebanese partner managed to raise sufficient resources to ship out 75 Kenyans beginning Friday, 28th August to Friday 4th September 2020. As this report was being prepared, a total of 52 Kenyans have landed back in Kenya through the kind support from the CHTEA-Lebanese partner (who chose to remain anonymous until a future date). CHTEA plans to receive the last lot of arrivals on 2nd September at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Most of the returning Kenyans were trafficked to Lebanon with promises of a better life and jobs, only to find themselves abused and deeply traumatised. At the point at which some of them reached out to CHTEA, there were reports of deaths, disappearances, meting out of extreme violence (both at work places and on the streets). A majority of them had lost their accreditation, hence found themselves living as illegal aliens in a country whose socio-political fabric is almost exploding after many years of internal turmoil and economic decline.
CHTEA intends to engage with a majority of them for a debriefing session, even though Covid-19 restrictions may impede a comprehensive engagement. The ones living in and around Nairobi and Mombasa will receive psycho-social support and possible support towards Income Generating Activities (micro-finance) based on an Urgent Appeal to you, the reader and/or your friends. The sheer number of 75 returnees with their multiple needs – medical, psycho-social, food, shelter, livelihoods and a host of other necessities of life is truly overwhelming. So, you can see why we reach out to your generous spirit at a time when families are severely cash-strapped. They left for ‘greener-pastures’ to escape extreme poverty – now they return to worse poverty.
Urgent-Special Appeal for financial Support
Due to this unprecedented scenario, CHTEA finds it very difficult to provide adequate support towards these desperate returnees, hence we are making an urgent special appeal for donations to raise at least USD$20,000 (twenty thousand US Dollars) towards this cause. A number of them have been away for almost ten years and yet they had to come back with nothing to show for the time lost. This could easily lead them to depression and other stigma related conditions. A smaller number are returning with children born while in Lebanon. From the stories of Victims, we are familiar with multiple incidences of rape by bosses and others. Then it’s either forced abortions or ‘kicked out’ to fend for yourself. CHTEA would be happy to offer them start-up capital for businesses if you donated urgently and generously. We are kindly making this appeal from 1st to 30th September 2020. As always, there is never too little………….any donations ranging from USD$5 (five US Dollars) will be highly appreciated and will definitely go a long way to transform the lives of the returnees.
For ease donating, bank details are at the bottom of this newsletter. CHTEA wishes to express an advance gratitude for your continued support.