Rael walks through the filthy narrow passageways of Kibera, trying unsuccessfully not to soil her shoes as she walks home to her grandmother’s house. Orphaned at a very young age, Rael is one of the 100,000 children living in Kibera. Many have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Over half a million people live in Kibera, one of the most densely populated places on earth. A sea of corrugated iron roofs cover 1.5 square miles of steamy hillside on the south side of Nairobi, Kenya. There are no services here, no running water, no electricity, no garbage collection and no sewage system. Layers upon layers of garbage, dirt and human waste fill the shallow trenches running alongside homes and shops.
Those who live in Kibera face incredible challenges, from widespread unemployment and low wages, to rampant disease such as malaria, cholera and typhoid. Children who live on the streets are Kibera’s most vulnerable inhabitants and are subject to exploitation, cruelty and abuse, with no one to care for them and no safe shelter to retreat to. They are often denied the most basic human rights, such as education, health care, food, clean water, and security.
In order to respond to the urgent needs of Kibera’s vulnerable children, we are running Good News Clubs in a strategic area where they can reach more children. Good News Clubs offer children ages 5 to 18 a safe, enriching environment where they can receive nutritious food, healthcare, education, social support, life training and coping skills. The children are taught the Word of God and encouraged to reach their full potential. The Clubs help us identify vulnerable children, particularly those living on the street. They provide a venue where we can monitor children and assess their needs. Children who are suffering from malnutrition or abuse are identified and the appropriate course of action is taken.