There are approximately 300,000 children living on the streets in Kenya. Of these about 60,000 live in Nairobi. Street children face countless cruelties. Their rights have been violated often by the adults who were supposed to protect them and they have very limited access to basic necessities. In many cases these children are subject to sexual exploitation in return for food or clothes. Often police detain or beat them without reason.
We are supporting the rehabilitation of children who live on the streets and reintegrating them into families and communities. Life expectancy for a child on the street is 16 years. Rehabilitation takes time and dedication. It involves not only taking the child out of the street, but also taking the tough impact of the street-life out of the child. Restoring a child’s dignity and recovering his or her childhood is key to enabling them to make choices that can transform their lives and create pathways to a hopeful future.
Programs offering life skills, coping skills, food, health care, education and other social supports, are some of the ways International Needs are transforming the lives of Kenya’s street children.
August 31st, 2018
Wachira moved to the streets as a teenager. He left home as his parents always argued and did not return as his mother then passed away. For a while, he lived with his grandmother but when she also passed away, Wachira ended up on the streets in the Westlands Slum in Nairobi. Wachira joined a street family group of around 20 boys and young men, eventually becoming their leader. The group live together in makeshift shelters on the street.
The group the Wachira joined are supported by International Needs Kenya’s Grace Empowerment programme. This programme is run by Local Leader, Pastor Joshua Kirani. Pastor Joshua visits this group twice a week to feed them, pray with them and offer support. He has already helped many members of this group through the process for getting ID cards. When Wachira expressed an interest in starting his own business, Pastor Joshua assisted him. With some start-up capital, Wachira was able to set up his own street food business selling popular Kenyan snacks.
In 2016, Wachira spoke to us about his new business;
“My Pastor, Mr Joshua Karani helped me overcome challenges of the street, to do this business that will help me in my life ahead. I appreciate so much that he has helped me and supported me.”
For a while after setting up his business, Wachira continued to live on the streets. It was very difficult for him to move away from the life he was used to, and the safety of his street family. When his business was doing well, he expanded to sell a larger range of snacks including popular ‘Smokies’ (hot sausages). Not long after this, the income he was making from his business enabled him to rent accommodation for himself, and a storeroom for his stall. He also now has a business partner he works with who runs another street food business selling cold drinks, sweets and nuts.
Wachira has now been living independently and off the streets for over a year.
Can you support our Harvest Appeal this year to support more street children like Wachira get the support they need to come off the streets?
International Needs are helping many street children in Kenya transform their lives through programmes offering life skills, counselling, food, health care, education and other social support.
Through the ‘Grace Empowerment’ programme run by Local Pastor, Joshua Kirani, International Needs Kenya support 66 children and young people living in three street families. The programme provides each individual with two large hot meals each week as well as emergency access to health care and counselling. Pastor Joshua meets with each group regularly to feed them, pray with them and mentor them.
Pastor Joshua supports the older boys to get official ID cards. An ID card is often the first step toward a life off the street. The programme has also recently employed a social worker to provide more support. When boys are ready to come off the street, Pastor Joshua helps them find accommodation, access education and vocational training to develop skills. Resources and start-up funding can then be given to help them start businesses. He has recently supported two boys to find accommodation at a half-way house away from the streets. Many others already have come away from the streets. The programme has helped many street children like Wachira set up businesses, and has supported others into full time employment.
Pastor Joshua Kirani has been working with street children in Nairobi for over 8 years. He has extensive experience and has a well-developed rapport with the street boys. Pastor Joshua’s dream is to open a rehabilitation centre tailored to the needs of the children and young people he works with.
As part of the Grace Empowerment Programme, Pastor Joshua provides resources including regular hot meals and food supplies. He also supports groups with clothes as living on the streets often means they are vulnerable to the elements and suffer when the weather is cold.
A donation of £32 could provide 20 nutritious meals.
A legal identity, health care and legal support are often unattainable for street children on their own. Through the work of Pastor Joshua, we are helping street children gain their own legal identity by assisting them in obtaining ID cards. Most street children have no legal guardian, so Pastor Joshua stands in for them. Pastor Joshua finds and funds emergency health care when they are in need, and he supports them when they have been unfairly beaten or detained by police.
A donation of £233 could support 15 street boys through the process to get ID cards.
When street children are ready and willing to work on leaving the streets, Pastor Joshua connects them with vocational training, accommodation, education and resources to enable them to get jobs or start their own businesses. Some choose to go into education, some choose to work as artisans and craftsmen. There is no set route, and Pastor Joshua supports them emotionally and financially to pursue their goals.
A donation of £144 could cover the cost of a half-way house for 3 months, helping one young person start a life away from the streets.
Our partners share Jesus’s love both through practical action and through word. Many young people come to Pastor Joshua for support. Alongside assisting with their immediate needs, Pastor Joshua prays with them and shares with them about the love of Jesus.
To support Pastor Joshua’s work today you can:
3. Fundraise for us. – To find out more about fundraising or to request resources please get in touch at email@example.com