Kenya West Programme
In Kenya West Territory, a community outreach programme is making a significant difference in the lives of young people who are living on the streets in Kakamega, Kitale and Eldoret. The main objectives are to rescue, rehabilitate, reintegrate and resocialise both children and teenagers, meeting their basic needs but also giving them education and skills to be able to make a life for themselves.
There are regular meals provided for young people; the main meal is breakfast, consisting of tea and bread, and sometimes lunch which they can make themselves. While meals are important, education has also been an essential part of the programme. Teachers recruited by the Ministry of Education have been running classroom sessions to ensure young people get their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. The main outcome of this is to teach them to be able to read and write on their own.
They’re also teaching young people good hygiene practices and how to wash their clothing by hand. New clothing is also given to them when needed. Young people are also provided with medical attention for different medical conditions—some as small as headaches and chest pain, others as serious as bacterial infections, septic wounds and injuries caused by assaults.
Unfortunately, many young people on the streets get involved with crime, commonly theft for food and anything else they need to survive, as they don’t have the skills to earn money for themselves. The outreach programme tries to address this problem by running skills lessons in soap-making, bead-making and art to equip children to generate income. Some children are even doing business mentorship classes, so they can have the skills to start their own businesses.
Most children are on the streets because they ran away due to trouble at home. The programme aims to reunite as many children as possible with their families, and to get them back into school. One boy had been on the streets for one week and had run away after having an argument with his mother as he was scared his father would punish him. He was picked up by his mother and teacher and returned to school. His teacher will be guiding and counselling him to ensure he stays in school.
Many young people have benefitted from the community outreach programme: 683 people received meals in the last month; 42 completed primary school education, with 5 continuing on to secondary education; 87 received skill development lessons in soap-making, beadwork and artwork; 98 received medical attention; 20 are undergoing business mentorship lessons to learn how to start a business; and, 9 children have been reunited with their guardians. Many young people have benefited from this community outreach programme which is supported by New Zealand Child Sponsorship funds.