Each year Comic Relief and the BBC call us to support Red Nose day so that money can be raised for good causes here and abroad.
If I am to be honest I have never followed this initiative and would not ordinarily watch the programmes around it. This is not because I am against the initiative but mostly because of the feeling of “here we go again another programme about poverty stricken, disease ridden Africa”
Something changed my mind this year, listening to Angela Rippon talking about her experience in Kibera on BBC Radio4 . She spoke of a hard working woman doing her utmost to support others women in community affected by HIV as well as raising a family and running a small enterprise to pay for her children’s fees and put food on the table.
Whilst I could only visualize her experience I felt watching it on TV would bring it alive so it was that I tuned into FAMOUS RICH AND IN THE SLUMS. It was not easy watching I was especially moved by the circumstances in which Lenny Henry’s 15 year old host found himself in. His father was killed in the political riots that engulfed Kenya following the last elections, and just like that he was head of family aged 12 years at the time. What sort of world do we live in that sees a 15 year old raising his siblings in an open sewer?
This was all too much for Lenny Henry. I know that I advocate for solutions that don’t involve throwing money at problems but if you work at the grassroots every now again a situation will arise where you have no alternative but to throw money at it and this was Lenny Henry’s! I felt his pain L
He decided to “break” the rules by asking for his wallet back so he could buy a house for his host and siblings and take them away from an open sewer.
Lenny Henry’s frustration was moving, I shed a tear or two. The following whilst in my local supermarket I asked the woman behind me if I could buy Red Noses for her children and to my delight she agreed. This was a first too.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that these folk need handouts or pity and I was pleased that this was pointed out in the programme. Although their circumstances were less than desirable all the folk featured were going about their day to day lives and doing their best to find solutions to their challenges.
Sometime last year Kibera was in the news as folk had figured out how take advantage of the residents circumstances and make money out of them by organizing tours around the community in something that came to be known in development language as POVERTY TOURISM. My good friend @tmsruge wrote a good article about and urges us all to think before you hit the road to poverty tourism
I honestly hope that this will not be the side effect of FAMOUS RICH AND IN THE SLUMS
The one thing I know for sure is that I am privileged not to have to worry about where my next meal is coming from but more so that I can actually do something small to change the life of someone less fortunate than I am.
If you would like to support the Red Nose initiative Get involved here