In autumn, the streets of Warsaw, Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, and Kolding will be filled with people who put on their walking shoes for a good cause. For the 19th time, ECCO Walkathon hosts Denmark's biggest walk in support of two good purposes: the SOS Children's Village and the Danish Heart Association. The participants collect DKK 7.5 for each kilometre they walk.
The SOS Children's Villages use their share of the funds to help vulnerable children living in slums on the outskirts of Nairobi. Every month, thousands of people choose to move from the countryside to the big cities, hoping to build a better future. The cities cannot accommodate all of these people, so most people end up in slum areas. Here people live in homemade shells of tin, plastic, and fabric, leaving little room for a safe and happy childhood.
Child mortality in the slum areas is towering. Nearly two out of three children are not treated for dehydration if they have diarrhoea. Still, diarrhoea is frequent in the slum, where tens of thousands of children live without access to water, bath, and toilets.
Biogas provides better life conditions
This year, the SOS Children's Villages will use the donation from ECCO Walkathon to build a special 'bio house' in the slums of Nairobi. The house must be a safe place for children and their families to gather. There will be toilets and baths for the residents to use safely and without risk of abuse. At the same time, the access to clean water and soap reduces the risk of spreading contagious diseases.
The bio house will have a very special function: the waste from the toilets is collected and converted into biogas - a so-called biosanitary center. The biogas must be used in a large kitchen in the biohouse. Fires are also a major problem in Nairobi's slum, where cooking is done over open fire. Making a kitchen available to the residents diminishes the risk of devastating fires.
Kindergartens protect children from abuse
The new house will form a framework for women to have their children looked after in a safe environment when they go to work, instead of leaving the children alone for hours.
The children are in danger of abuse and kidnapping - a big risk when you are a child in the slum. To avoid the danger, many mothers lock their children away while they are gone. This means that the children stay in small, warm sheds for up to 12 hours a day. The new kindergartens will be life-changing to the children and their mothers. The kids get a day full of play and safety, and their mothers can go to work with peace of mind.