Emergency support

Many families in Gateko are vulnerable, and Shelter Them sometimes needs to intervene with temporary emergency support. The emergency support provided depends on the family’s need. In the case of illness or injury, Shelter Them can pay for medical care or treatment. When a caregiver is unable to work due to mental health issues or chronic disease, we provide a monthly allocation of food until the problem is resolved. We have rented accommodation for families in crisis until such time as the crisis is resolved. It is always understood that emergency support is temporary, while the family is in crisis, although for cases such as elderly people or people with infirmities we continue to assist with the basic needs including healthcare.

It is important to reemphasize the temporary nature of this support. In 2023, Shelter Them achieved a major goal by transitioning away from providing families with food support. This shift is the result of the various family and community programs that have provided our beneficiaries with greater independence and control over their lives, rather than dependence on others. At the end of 2023, only four families in Gateko were receiving ongoing food support. One of these families, for example, is headed by a single mother who is experiencing a mental disorder. Three other families receive support only on weekends, when their children in our ECDC do not receive two meals per day at school. In 2023, Shelter Them leased land so that eight needy families could cultivate and grow their own crops of maize and beans. As a result, they were able to feed themselves and make a profit from their own labour. This was a significant step towards self sustainability for these families. We hope that by the end of the year, the success of our Family Support and Community Development programs will end all food dependency in Gateko!