Story & Mission

Find information about how and why KAN started and how we plan to support migrant workers in Kuwait and information about the impact we have had on the community. 

 

Our Story

Deeply rooted in Kuwait’s history of community cooperation, Kuwait Aid Network (KAN), is a non-profit organization that began with the intention of tackling food and nutrition issues in Kuwait. Just as neighborly duty is a norm in Kuwait, so is the fact that many people go to bed with empty stomachs. KAN makes sure this social duty is upheld and aims to make sure that no one suffers from hunger In 2020, as the Covid-19 virus rapidly wreaked havoc across the globe and Kuwait alike, the nation witnessed a rise in xenophobia, classism and general bigotry. From marginalized groups to expat communities, people suffered a neglect almost as fatal as the coronavirus. Kuwait’s marginalized communities, who are already living in financial dire straits, were forced deeper into trouble once people’s social activism cooled down. Despite a formidable and admirable effort by the government and nationals, this neighborly duty extended to the marginalized wasn’t sustainable.

In the middle of that chaos, KAN was born as a grassroots organization setup to help people in during the lockdown in Mahboula. From mid-June 2020 a group of volunteers handed out food, baby supplies, and medicine to those in need. From there a network of volunteers spread and thousands of people were fed.

KAN volunteers noticed a series of challenges to helping those in need. First, there was a general lack of connections between established formal organizations and numerous smaller informal ones. Another, perhaps even more concerning issue, was that various marginalized communities were also unaware of the potential assistance they may be able to access. Much of the obstacles are linguistic: information is segregated by class, nationality, and knowledge of Arabic or English. And the cost is great, as the lack of general information and potential isolation can create the conditions for panic, hopelessness, and suicide.

While problems are intense they are not complicated. What is needed is sustainable cooperation and collaboration. Kuwait has many generous people and KAN provides a channel for that generosity that goes straight to those who are hungry, forgotten, or ignored. Alongside KAN’s mission to ensure no one goes hungry in Kuwait — be it in times of crisis or calm — the nonprofit also targets coalition building among communities and non-governmental organizations. KAN believes bridging gaps further strengthens the road that leads to a Kuwait which secures the needs of all who call it home.

With KAN, the old Kuwaiti tradition of giving is just as true and necessary as this old Kuwaiti saying: “prepare your medicine before you are stricken.” Now — in a constantly globalizing world stricken by a pandemic still affecting everyone on the planet — the need for social cooperation is higher than ever.

Our Mission

KAN’s Vision is to help alleviate poverty
and malnutrition in the short, medium,
and long term. KAN envisions to do this
by:

01

Focusing on the Dual Challenges of Nutrition and Sustenance.

02

Communicating our support to all our Communities in their Native Language.

03

Developing Long-Term Food Crisis Management Planning.

04

Creating and Maintaining Logistical Food Stockpiles.

05

Collaborating with Civil Society Organizations and Actors in the National and Non-National Community in Kuwait and abroad.

06

Assisting the Development of other Food Aid and Migrant Support Organizations.

07

Advocating, Raising Awareness and Addressing the link between Food Poverty and Mental Health

Impact

KAN has created various projects to help others within the community. We have provided food aid, hygiene products, and clothing to communities in needs, with a goal of improving the quality of life of those who are vulnerable.. We have also supported other community organizations that aim to tackle food insecurity and through this, we are able to help more people get the sustenance they need. During the early stages of the pandemic, KAN fed 10,000 people, ran a popular program called “Project Mary”, through which we taught migrant workers various sewing skills so they could use these skills to obtain work, and have also expanded our scope of focus and provided aid to displaced Ukrainian and Afghan refugees. Our main goal is to take steps towards ending food insecurity as well as helping support vulnerable populations in any way we can. We have also made ourselves a resource for migrant workers or other vulnerable people within the community. KAN continues to work to make a positive impact on our community and subsequently create sustainable change within it.

KAN through the years

Our Leadership

At KAN we have multiple moving parts accomplishing tasks at the same time. We collaborate and push forward individual projects, and every member of our ever-growing team makes a lasting contribution. Our team consists of the directors, research coordinators, volunteers and interns. Our directors are in charge of the entire operation, they created this organization and they delegate members’ tasks as well as manage them. The directors also pursue research projects and make their own contributions to the organization in order to keep it running and organized, as well as accomplish all the things our team needs to achieve. Our research coordinators help us expand our scope of knowledge as well as gather valuable information regarding what issues we need to focus on and what sorts of approaches to take to these issues. Research also helps fuel our organization as it gives us an incentive for our targeted tasks and allows us to demonstrate to the public where issues lie. Our volunteers are also valuable assets to our team, volunteers help us run events and assist with our marketing by adding content, as well as contributing to our research and data collection. Interns are another valuable addition to our team, interns work on a variety of tasks. Interns work on organization, research, outreach, and marketing as well as the coordination of various events for KAN. Our team is a large one full of moving parts, however, every part contributes to the achievement of KAN’s goals and every member works to make this world a better place.

Research Program Director

Mariam Al Saad

Director

Geoffrey Martin

Research and Policy Associate

Zaya Stas

Administrative Supervisor

Caleb Sanders

Research and Policy

Irene Suvillaga Schonenberg

Community Coordinator

Lilian Atari

Community Coordinator

Faisal Kamara

Community Coordinator

Aizel Castejon

Funding Director

Kyle Reaburn

Research Program Director

Mariam Al Saad

Director

Geoffrey Martin

Research and Policy Associate

Zaya Stas

Administrative Supervisor

Caleb Sanders

Research and Policy

Irene Suvillaga Schonenberg

Community Coordinator

Lilian Atari

Community Coordinator

Faisal Kamara

Community Coordinator

Aizel Castejon

Funding Director

Kyle Reaburn

Research and Legal Coordinator

Mary Russo

Senior Communications and Outreach Coordinator

Abigail White

Business Operations Supervisor

Dev Shah