UNITED SIKHSWinner of the Sikhs and Charities Award
February 17, 2011
7th Phagun (Samvat 542 Nanakshahi)
Press Release
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Kenyan Vice President's Office Inaugurates Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank in Response to Drough


  • Sikh Community of East Africa joins hands with UNITED SIKHS to establish "Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank" in Nairobi
  • UNITED SIKHS enters into agreement with Red Cross Society of Kenya to work on local relief work

NAIROBI, KENYA: On January 22, 2011, UNITED SIKHS set up the first SRI GURU NANAK FOOD BANK in Kenya in response to a severe drought ravaging the nation. The food bank was inaugurated at the Vice President’s Office by Her Excellency Pauline Kalonzo, and is supported by the local Sikh Sangat and organizations. Her Excellency Pauline Kalonzo presented a check for 100,000 Kenyan shillings in support of the effort and stated, "The initiative of Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank is much needed and will receive our full support. The people of Kenya appreciate that UNITED SIKHS is working with us for a better future for our children."

The Inaugural day stock at the Food Bank was more than 15 Tons at a cost of over 1,000,000 Kenyan Shillings and included:

  • Maize meal - 50 bags (1 Bag = 90 kg)
  • Rice - 30 bags
  • Red Beans - 25 bags
  • Sugar - 50 bags
  • Salt - 25 bags

Sikh Sangat of Kenya was present at the launch of the food bank along with the UNITED SIKHS team.  East Africa Ramgharia Board President Manjit Singh stated that "This endeavor by UNITED SIKHS is a welcome step in the right direction. The Sikh community in East Africa extends support for our fellow countrymen in need."   UNITED SIKHS Kenya Director Jaswinder Kaur stated, "The Sikh community of East Africa hopes that the first Guru Nanak Food Bank in Nairobi will lead to many more in the future in different parts of the world."

Sikh Community Leaders with Volunteers in the Chambers of the Vice President of Kenya on the inaugural day of the Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank in Kenya   Her Excellency, Mrs. Pauline Kalonzo signing the pledge for the Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank, a project of UNITED SIKHS

The Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank is a result of meetings that a team of Senior Directors of UNITED SIKHS held with government officials in Kenya. The need of the hour in Africa is a proactive approach by grassroots humanitarian relief organizations to help people access the basic amenities of life. Local involvement is a must to achieve sustainable results in eradicating persistent lack of the primary human needs of food, water, and shelter. UNITED SIKHS has hence entered into an understanding with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and other organizations that work with local communities. Our approach is based on guiding principles of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Several United Nations agencies including United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are collaborating with Kenya Red Cross (KRC) to scale up early response interventions like the provision of water boreholes, water trucking, de-stocking and other livelihood support to vulnerable areas to mitigate the impact of drought. UNITED SIKHS work on water boreholes benefiting nearly 15,000 people was reported in our Press release "This Time for Africa" on 10/01/2011.

Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank, a project of UNITED SIKHS   Trucks from the Food Bank with food for drought stricken areas
Her Excellency with US Volunteers   Food Trucks coming in from the Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank being flagged by Her Excellency Pauline Kalonzo and the Sikh Community Leaders in Kenya

The food bank, a legacy of the Sikh Gurus, does much more than satiate hunger for those in need. Food shortages lead to many issues that at first glance may not seem related. OCHA Kenya lists some of them as experienced in Kenya:

  • Tensions soar within and along the Kenya/Somalia border as communities move in search of water and pasture for livestock.
  • High levels of drought induced livestock mortality in pastoral areas
  • Outbreak of livestock diseases PPR, CCPP and small pox
  • Alarming level of water shortage for both livestock and human use
  • Increasing health concerns for populations - Malnutrition and Anaemia, both of which affect pregnant or lactating mothers and their children most, are on the rise
  • Conflicts over scarce resources increase the risk of women/girls experiencing sexual abuse and gender based violence (GBV) and vulnerability to sexual exploitation
  • Increased risk of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and measles spreading due to movement of people in search of water and food

We stem many problems at the root by the simple act of providing food and water for the masses. Gurvinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS Director, USA, states "When you feed an individual, you assist a family.  When you assist a family you assist a community.  When you assist a community you assist a nation.  When you assist a nation you change the world."

Change the world with a gesture as simple as feeding a child! All it takes is 130 Kenyan Shillings a day to feed a child in Kenya. This amounts to just $2 per child!


Issued by:
Kanwal jit Kaur
Program Coordinator

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Change the world with a gesture as simple as feeding a child! All it takes is 130 Kenyan Shillings a day to feed a child in Kenya. This amounts to just $2 per child!


Why now?

UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure coherent response to emergencies. OCHA-Kenya issued an update in January stating that La Nina effect has led to prolonged dry spells across the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya. It is currently interfering with livestock and agricultural production in most parts of the country leading to increases in food prices which are further compromising the food security for vulnerable populations. According to the World Food Programme, an estimated 1.2 million persons consisting of 932,000 pastoralists and 308,000 marginal agricultural farmers are still in need of food assistance.

The organizations present on the inaugural of the Sri Guru Nanak Food Bank, a project of UNITED SIKHS in Kenya: 

  • Sikh Supreme Council
  • East Africa Ramgharia Board
  • Ramgharia South Railway Gurdwara
  • Gurdwara Landies
  • Gurdwara Nanaksar
  • Baba Esher Singh Committee
  • Sri Guru Singh Sabha
  • Ramgharia Youth Association
  • Guru Nanak Nishkam Jatha Kirichoo
  • Guru Nanak Sikh Ramgharia Hospital
  • Gurudwara Bhangani
  • Lions Club
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