The core of our team consists of myself, Hugo James, and my wife Pat Gikonyo. Pat is from Kenya, and one of her childhood friends, Janet Wambaa, lives in Nairobi with her daughter Gathoni, who is severely autistic and epileptic.
Gathoni has constant and extremely complex medical and social care needs: she cannot care for herself in any way whatsoever, and suffers epileptic seizures on a distressingly regular basis. Janet must bear the entire financial and personal burden of looking after her, all day, every day. She receives no assistance at all from any official source, and relies entirely on the generosity of family and friends to keep body and soul together for herself and her daughter.
She has done this now for 18 years, and by dint of sheer love and selfless application, has succeeded so far in making the best of an overwhelmingly difficult situation. However, the enormous physical, emotional and psychological stress resulting from this has caused Janet's own health to suffer, and she now struggles with chronic fibromyalgia.
Gathoni's father abandoned her and her mother completely, and has never contributed a penny to her care. In addition, Janet's former employer, an international aid organisation that purports to work for the benefit of families, transferred her to a post away from Nairobi - and away from all of Gathoni's medical support - then fired her when she declined the transfer.
In the first instance, our aim is to cover Gathoni's immediate urgent medical expenses, while working to establish longer-term provision. We are keen to secure as much funding as possible from all available sources to achieve this aim.