Street children: their dreams are still valid

 Street children at St. Teresa’s Girls School, Eastleigh during the International Day of Street Children celebrations

We see them every day and most of the time we do not care much as to what is happening to them, why they are there, what they will eat or where they will sleep. Maybe we are only bothered about our bags, expensive handsets and of course our money and that they might hurt us. This is a summary of what Seth Mwangi, AfCiC’s street worker got from a group of residents of Thika early this week as he worked with a group of young people in the streets of Thika, in readiness for the International Street Children Day. On the other hand, the children expressed their dreams for a better life outside the streets in many innovative ways, actually their dreams are very valid

Whereas most residents seemed not to be bothered by the existence of children on our streets and have become familiar and accepted phenomenon, they still remained very detached and not interested in what happens to the Children. The fact that Life on the streets strips children and youth their humanity, burdening them with the everyday concern of survival was seen more as case of choice other than the poverty, disease and violence that has tossed the children from their homes to the streets.

As we celebrate the International Street Children Day, the task ahead is not insurmountable but one that requires the good will of all, from the family where we have, community, administrators, the government and the private sector. As AfCiC we have established that a combination of interventions can easily help to manage the symptom that is the children in contact with the streets as we address ourselves to the problems that force children to the streets.

The world if now focused towards the post 2015 goals while here in Kenya our focus is fixed on the vision 2030 goals. However none of the aforementioned goals and targets has specific mention of the children in contact with the streets. This is really worrying considering that Kenya alone is said to have a conservative three hundred thousand children living in the streets. We can take poverty and the ongoing social, political and economic problems as an excuse but it is hard to understand how such a huge and critical part of our society can remain unattended safe for under occasional charitable interventions In particular when you look at the Kenyan situation one is hard pressed to explain why with the euphoria of the coming into being of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the attendant implementation of its provisions, why hasn’t the national or county governments seen it worthy to bring to life the provisions of Article 53 which in essence guarantees children what a child deserves. We are of the position that children in contact with the streets are children too and thus provided for under the bill of rights and more specifically the aforementioned Article

It is important to note that the Consortium for Street Children have recognized street children as children worth protection and actually set aside the 12th Day of April of each year as the day for street children but whereas such days are set aside for celebrating. I am worried that there is nothing to smile about if what we have witnessed today at St. Teresa’s Girls School Eastleigh during the celebrations is anything to go by. The situation and circumstances of the children continue to deteriorate, adolescent mothers and fathers, children living in the streets with their children, no immunization, no delivery services no any form of support safe for the can of glue which seems to make all equal. Kenyans, we must do something and urgently, we should not watch over this destruction of children and just say all is well because it is not our children. It is our collective responsibility; it is actually a constitutional obligation.