For more than two decades now, Stanley Ngara, commonly known as King of Condom, has been known for his initiative of distributing free condoms to revellers and sex workers in bars and social places in the country. The CEO of King’s Condoms promotion has now switched gears from protective gear distribution to reaching out to children from poor backgrounds battling life-threatening diseases to assist them in getting a second chance in life.
You have not been seen distributing condoms for a while, have you stopped the task?
Not really, but I decided to extend a helping hand to vulnerable kids who have medical problems including heart complications in the country.
How do you go about that?
Sometimes in 2020, I was distributing condoms in Kahawa West, and then there was a child who was battling brain cancer. When people saw me distributing condoms they told me to stop the campaign until the child gets assistance.
I was touched by the appeals and stopped the distribution exercise. Later when I visited the family, I discovered that they were struggling to raise Sh 2 million so that the kind can.
How did you manage to tackle the challenge?
After interacting with the family and the child in Kahawa, I picked their paybill number and told them to leave the rest to me. By that time, they had not even raised Sh200,000.
With all the required information at hand, I took to social media and within one month we had raised Sh2 million and the target was sh2.5, NHIF cleared with Sh400,000.
Did you feel relieved?
I was overjoyed when the kid was flown to India where she was treated and came back, that alone gave me hope and more courage to help others in situations. That is how I started thinking about other families and children who are undergoing similar challenges in silence.
How has the progress been?
Around that time in 2020 I had joined a competition to produce a movie about the importance of using protection during the Coronavirus period targeting the Indian market. My pitch was focusing on condom stigma in India so as to sensitize the community.
How did it go?
When I was done with the pitch and presented for approval I got a call from someone identified as Amir Siddiqui, a social worker in New Delhi who had been following my stories about condom distribution in Kenya and was impressed. After catching up with him for a while, I learned he was running another initiative in Delhi almost similar to mine.
During the same covid season, he used to get oxygen from donors which he supplied to help the needy at the peak of the pandemic. He has also visited Kenya to experience what I've been doing.
What was his idea?
Having seen my voluntary services of distributing condoms and sensitizing people he told me since the pandemic was over, the donors extended the help toward helping children in Africa and part of Asia.
His role at the moment is to identify a donor who covers eighty percent of the hospital bills for such kids if it is less than 10,000 USD.
Then what is your role in Kenya?
I reach out to needy children through organizations that support children to refer me to those kids who require specialized treatment but are unable to raise fees for treatment.
Once I get such a case I visit the family and verify how needy they are because some people can take advantage of the needy kids. From there I get their documents and I send them to Siddiqui to start processing.
The next step is to identify a qualified doctor to deal with the particular case, then we link up hospitals that can agree with the terms of conditions which guarantee payment after surgery.
How many children have benefited in Kenya so far?
We have handled ten cases so far in slightly over six months, they were flown to India for various treatments and came back in good health.
80 percent of the cases were heart problems and not from Nairobi alone, we have some from Mombasam, North Eastern and Western.
What are some of the challenges that you face?
The process and procedures are challenging like time for visa, some of them are denied visas and others delayed passports.
That is the greatest challenge that I face on a daily basis. That is why whenever I identify a needy child that requires treatment I make an appeal for well-wishers to support parents to get air tickets and accommodations.
Again, some hospitals in India refuse to attend Kenyans because they honour the payments through NHIF and other schemes.
Sometimes, raising money for air tickets for parents who will accompany the kids and the accommodation is very tricky.
What do you do during such moments?
It is a very tricky situation because at that time the child's situation deteriorates and sometimes gets worse.
What are some of the painful experiences you've had?
I have lost three children whose funds had been approved, visa of fit to fly letter had been done.
In one of the cases, one of the one child died while on the way to the airport and I really cried, it was a painful experience.
Are there benefits on your end?
What I'm doing is protecting the parent from extending the illness of the child which will be more complicated and spend more money of the parent can lose the child.
I have no direct benefit because this is what I have done for charity for a long time.
What happens to your condom project?
I can’t leave the condom because they are used every day and children don’t get sick every day. What I’ve added is another crown as Africa Children Ambassador of hope, care and support.
Is it tiresome to do this?
This is one thing that I would love to do because all those children whom I will help will make me happy since they would have lost their lives because some of them are battling life-threatening conditions