kahawa west streetkids

Deep in the heart of the Soweto slum in the area of Kahawa West about 40kms from Nairobi, the Italian Lay Missionary Community of John XXIII have built a centre where they live and work with the streetkids there.  The wooden structure can accommodate up to 20 children and two live-in carers.  Through constant care and counselling they aim to reintegrate the kids with their families and re-introduce them to full-time education.
During our visit last year, we accompanied some of the community volunteers to the street as they met and interacted with the children living rough.  We played games with them and were invited to go swimming in a sludge-brown stream.  We declined but they had great fun.
This year we were delighted to hear that twelve of those children we met last year are now off the streets, accommodated at the centre and attending school.
KOFUP funds have been used to build a proper kitchen and storerooms at the centre, showers and latrines and a basketball court and football pitch where the boys can enjoy themselves after school.  Occasional open tournaments provide an opportunity to reach children still on the street.

PRECIOUS TEARS INITIATIVE: BAHATI'S STORY

Bahati (not her real name), a very bright 14 year old, was left vulnerable and alone after the death from AIDS of both parents and one of her two sisters. She was sent to live with her uncle who repeatedly abused her. Bahati was at that time attending the Sikalame Primary School.  
A number of the girls at Sikalame are members of Yiro Girls' Network (part of the Precious Tears Initiative which aims to empower and support teenage girls in an environment unsympathetic to their needs).  They helped Bahati to disclose the truth of her situation to mentor and counsellor, Rosila Waringa.
Bahati was immediately taken from the uncle's home to a place of safety with another family. She subsequently came top in her school in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and was awarded admission as a boarder to the prestigious Rang'ala Girls High School.  Secondary schooling is not free in Kenya but through KOFUP Bahati's fees are being paid. After two terms she is already showing great promise with A grades in maths and science.

KOFUP Trustees and Luanda Streetkids

Our visit to St Joseph's Rehabilitation Centre on 8th July coincided with a training workshop for caregivers (including some parents) of the children who had been living on the street but are now in the care of KOFUP's rehabilitation programme in Luanda. The workshop was led by an officer from the Child Welfare Society of Kenya and dealt with children's rights, child protection, parental responsibilities and other issues.
The task of the rehabilitation centre is to trace the families of children found living on the streets, to mediate between them and, ultimately, to reunify them.  Caregivers were encouraged to come to the centre frequently to help the reconciliation process and to foster bonding.
Currently there are 126 children in the programme, of whom 18 are living in the centre.  The other 108 are living with their caregivers and are constantly monitored and supported by the staff at the centre.

 

Post-workshop group photo.

Post-workshop group photo.

Sad news from Luanda

We were deeply saddened to learn that Vincent (on the right in the picture), one of the workers at St Joseph's Rehabilitation Centre, died on the 26th February after being knocked down by a motorcycle.  Vincent, who worked as teacher, counsellor, social worker and mentor for the streetkids, had been with the project right from the beginning.  He was an absolute gift to the world, especially to the boys at the centre who will miss him sorely.  Our heartfelt sympathy goes to his wife and three young daughters.

 

Baking Bread!

The oven in action

The oven in action

KOFUP has helped start a bakery by funding the cost of an oven for the YIRO Girls Network, a programme which aims to empower girls, giving them space to discuss problems and develop their leadership skills, self-esteem and confidence. The KOFUP group were able to sample the produce this year, delicious buns and loaves with the texture and flavour of brioche.

Income from the bakery will help the group become more self-sufficient and pay for needs as they arise.