The Luanda Street Children’s Project, set up in 2002 by Mill Hill Missionary Sisters, provides a place of safety for the many children living on the streets in this small rural community.
Life on the streets is degrading and dangerous and these vulnerable youngsters often turn to glue-sniffing to ease their hunger and fear. At the project they get a decent hot meal at lunchtime and lessons at the informal school. The sisters negotiate with the children’s families to take them back into the home whenever possible. They also contact local schools with a view to getting the children into the formal education system and provide them with school uniform and books.
On the day we visited there were about twenty boys there –(girls rarely end up on the streets). After their lessons we played cards and other games. Then some of the boys danced for us to the accompaniment of rhythmic drumbeats adorned in homemade grass skirts! Finally they enjoyed an hour long game of football played with the kind of enthusiasm you might see anywhere. It was a real joy to see these kids having fun, the chance to enjoy their childhood.
This small project has made a significant difference to the lives of over 60 children in the past three years and it continues to grow. The sisters are now looking for land where they can build a shelter to house the children temporarily so that none of them have to return to the streets at night.