What do these celebrations mean for the children on the streets?’ Are they going to celebrate the fruit of 50 years of independence? I asked myself as I read the report below which basically says what we’ve been saying for a long time at Tumaini Kwa Watoto. Children’s basic need is a family that provides them food, shelter and a sense of belonging. As Kenya celebrates the Year of Jubilee, strengthening the family should be a priority for every Kenyan. We can then all boldly sing the National Anthem: ‘Let one and all arise. In common bond united, build this our nation together. And the glory of Kenya, the fruit of our labour, fill every heart with thanksgiving.’ Our desire this season is that by the time celebrations are over, more children, more families and more communities will overflow with thanksgiving.
‘Research was conducted in five Rift Valley towns (Eldoret, Kitale, Molo, Nakuru, and Naivasha) in Kenya in 2011 to understand the link between emergencies and the perceived increase of children joining the streets. The findings are based on interviews with 3,138 children, of whom 2,696 were directly connected with the streets. Findings show that food insecurity is one of the biggest factors (59%) that cause children to drop out of school and gravitate toward the streets to find food and earn money…… In Eldoret, a large percentage of children interviewed came from families where one or both parents had died (44%). Displacement as a result of Post-Election Violence was also a major factor with 37% of all children interviewed in the streets being internally displaced (IDPs).
Children identified food as their biggest need (39%) followed closely by education (34%) and their third biggest unmet need was identified by them as love (24%). More than one in five children
interviewed had been reunified with their families at least once but were now back on the streets. …….. As a result, family reunification was not a major priority for these children especially teenagers who wanted to live in rented accommodation with their friends. …….. Over half of all IDP children sleeping on the streets wanted to live at home with their families, highlighting the fact that children connected to the streets are not all the same.’ However, coordinated efforts are needed to ensure that a child’s basic need of food security and education are met. HOPELESSNESS is the darkest place you can ever be in. Take away HOPE and you will plunge a child into meaninglessness, throw a society to anarchy, and sentence a generation to life of emptiness. That’s why at Tumaini Kwa Watoto (Children of Hope) we are dealers in hope, lifting children out of hopelessness. We call on all stakeholders including the church (There is a church in very community.) to join hands to make sure that children are enabled to live purposefully. Kenya has a new constitution and a new government. Surely things must change for the most vulnerable members of our great nation, our children, our future. We must find a sustainable solution to the problem of children living and working on the streets – enabling them to live their dreams. Esther & Sarah above are living their dreams.