Skip to content

Kenya is experiencing its worst drought in over 40 years. Families are facing severe food and water shortages – and people with disabilities are among those at greatest risk.  

In this blog, Sofia from Tharaka Nithi County shares her experience of the drought. This is the first in a series of blogs in which people with disabilities talk about the impact of this humanitarian crisis on their lives.

Sofia looking to camera holding a rake.

Sofia is a casual labourer who supports herself by working on other people’s farms. She also has a few crops of her own – mung beans and black-eyed peas. 

Life was challenging before for Sofia, who is a mother of five children, as she has a physical disability. “It is such a challenge to do farm work because of my leg, even walking can be a challenge”, she explains.

Sofia standing with her grandchildren against her mud hut.

But the drought has made things much worse. The crops in her community failed as the rains arrived late, and then lasted just one week. Her own plants are on the verge of failing and there is little farm work available on others’ land.

“We planted when the rain came, then it stopped raining. We don’t know what is happening. The last time we had a good harvest was the year before COVID.”

“The crops are drying up. The farmers don’t want to waste their resources as there will be nothing to harvest.”

Sofia walking with a walking aid on a dusty surface,

Caption: Sofia stands in the dry river bed a few minutes walk from her home. The family used to collect water here but now her children have to walk for more than 2 hours to collect water.

 “I can’t carry water myself. I rely on my children to go look for water”.

The drought has meant that the family have been missing one or two meals a day, and has so far survived by borrowing food from neighbours. But some days, there is nothing to be shared.

“This is leading us to famine. We wake up hungry. It is difficult for me because I can’t find anything to eat for my children or myself… If the drought continues, it will be very hard for our community. It will be indescribable.”

Sofia walking with a health worker.

CBM is partnering with Kenya Red Cross to provide families like Sofia’s with emergency support so they can continue to access food and water.

Thanks to this support, Sofia can feed her family and also ensure that her children remain enrolled in school. As well as meaning they will finish their education, they receive a daily meal at school which is vital in these desperate times.

Find out more about CBM’s response to the Kenya food crisis and how you can get involved.

All images ©CBM/Hayduk