[21st February 2012]


A delegation of one of the leading Japanese Restaurant Chains, Zensho Group, paid a courtesy call on H.E. the Ambassador on Wednesday 15th February, 2012. The group visited the Embassy to brief the Ambassador on the findings and outcomes of their recent trip to Kenya.

During the said visit, the team visited Nairobi and North Eastern Kenya where they witnessed the shipment, and transportation of Zensho donations of long Life Relief milk supplies to malnourished children in the Somali Refugee camps in Dadaab, North Eastern Kenya. Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the World currently hosting over 500,000 Somali refugees. The flow of refugees has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent times reaching a peak of 1,200 on daily arrivals from Somalia on account of insecurity and famine.

The company had purchased the Milk supplies worth USD 10,000.00 from the New KCC Deports in Industrial Area and the consignments are being transported from the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) depots in Nairobi to the Somali Refugee Camps in Daadab over the next six months.

According to Mr. Makoto Hirano, Director and Senior General Manager at the Restaurant Group the delegation was able to see firsthand how the Department of Refugees Affairs (DRA) in North Eastern Kenya led by Mr. Komen was managing the storage and supply of the Milk to needy Children. The Zensho team noted an excellent working relationship between the DRA and the school administrations where the DRA delivered the supplies but the teachers were responsible for actual distribution amongst the children.

Mr. Hirano and his team shared with the Embassy their moving experience when they saw the joy on the children’s faces as they received and drank their Milk rations. This was part of the delivery of 3,000 crates that had earlier been delivered to the department of Refugee Affairs in Daadab. The team was also extremely touched by the sheer joy and excitement on the faces of the school children who are now receiving daily rations of milk and porridge in Primary Schools located in the Refugee Camps.

The current project started late last year when the management of the Zensho group approached the Embassy following media reports of severe famine and hunger in the Horn of Africa. H.E. the Ambassador linked the company with the Department of Refugee Affairs of the Government of Kenya with whom the Zensho Group has partnered to start this school milk feeding programme for under-nourished school going children amongst the Somali refugee communities in Northern Eastern Kenya.

Humanitarian interventions such as the one conducted by the Zensho Group are highly regarded by the Government of Kenya whose resources had been severely overstretched due to the Government’s own efforts to cater for the humanitarian needs of a big section of our population in Northern and North Eastern Kenya that had similarly been ravished by drought and the resulting famine.

As a result of its commendable efforts, Zensho’s charitable work in Kenya has earned them the praises of members of the Refugee community in Daadab saying the project gave hope and strength to vulnerable children in the communities who have had a difficult time understanding the circumstances that led to their flight from their rural homes in southern Somalia. In the words of one of the school principals in a primary school benefitting from Zensho donations, the there is since a notable “increase in school enrolment since the Zensho Group started its voluntary feeding programme”.

During his meeting with the Zensho delegation, the Ambassador and the Zensho team explored pertinent issues related to the programme including the duration of the project and possible ways to sustain it. His Excellency the Ambassador was encouraged to see that the Company staff was willing to sacrifice part of their earnings to contribute to the charitable work. The two sides agreed on the need to work with other stakeholders to find ways of transforming the donor programme from a food relief effort to a self help programme that would empower the refugees and the surrounding Communities to be more self-reliant by working on in small scale irrigated kitchen gardens using the meagre resources available.


Mr. Yuichoro Hirose distributing milk to children at Dadaab Refugee camp

Children enjoying KCC whole milk

Mr. Yuichiro Hirose hands a boy a packet of milk

Mr. Earnest Sebastian puts a smile on the faces of the children by giving them milk

Mr. Tatsuya Hasegawa shares a few words with the children


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