By Sarah Ooko, World Vision Senior Communications Officer, Kenya
Julius lives in a single-roomed house with his seven children and grandchild at Lakisama informal settlement in Nairobi.
Despite the challenges of urban life, Julius had to leave his rural home and move to the city so as to try to make ends meet for his family.
He relies on his carpentry business and casual work at construction sites to earn a living and take care of his loved ones.
Julius's wife resides in the family's rural home. She practices small-scale farming and sells some of the crops to supplement her husband's income. But the cash is hardly ever enough.
This family is among the many that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya.
"All my children are now at home since schools and colleges were closed. This has increased the amount of money that I spend on food," says Julius.
He notes that the steady stream of casual jobs that he previously counted on are also hard to come by now.
"Life has been difficult and I have been living in fear that we will be thrown out of the house for not having rent," he says.
To lessen the burden on the family, World Vision gave Julius 6,000 Kenya Shillings through its cash transfer programme aimed at minimising the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable families residing in urban areas.
"I couldn't believe it! When I got the message on my phone notifying me that the money had been sent, I went down on my knees and thanked God," recalls Julius.
He notes that the cash has enabled him to pay rent, hence saving the family from eviction. He has also increased the stock of food for the family.
In addition, Julius was able to buy wood and other products that have enabled him to revive his carpentry business that was almost dying due to cash flow problems.
"I had used up all my money so I could no longer take orders from customers. But now I can do some business here in my workshop. I have also sent some money to my wife who was also suffering in the countryside," he says.
His second-born daughter Mercy states: "The money that Dad got has changed our lives. Now we have food and can relax a bit knowing that the landlord will not kick us out due to lack of money. But we're still working hard to try and look for other sources of income."