The causes of children living on the streets are wide-ranging and without an immediate solution. Working with the families of children, however, has been a key development in trying to prevent children going to the streets in the first instance, and we have had a number of people who have gone through the scheme who are now in a position to provide the basic needs to these vulnerable children in their own homes. Below are some real life examples of, firstly, a girl awaiting sponsorship with a young baby, as well as a family whose young boy has gone through the ICC rehabilitation programme, with the family having subsequently received sponsorship, showing the changes and interventions that occured.
For confidentiality reasons, we have been unable to use the real names of the families mentioned, though if you are interested in finding out about a specific family, please do not hesitate to contact us.
From a young age, Veronica used to work as a house help for a family in Thika. One day, the father of the house locked her in a room and raped her. He instructed the security guards working in the estate not to let her out and as a result, Veronica was unable to access any help. Tragically, not only did Veronica’s rape lead to her impregnation, she also contracted HIV/Aids. Veronica came to AfCiC’s legal advice service, Kenya Children’s Legal Aid Work (KCLAW) for help, and after unsuccesful attempts to involve the local authorities, AfCiC started paying for both counselling and got her involved in Hear Our Voice, the charity’s advocacy through drama project.
Veronica still struggles to come to terms with what has happened to her. She now has a beautiful daughter and despite the terrible way in which she was conceived, Veronica continues to love her. It is her greatest desire to care for the child and provide her with a better future. Veronica has started a small charcoal business with money given to her by well wishers, but the business does not have enough supplies to be able to cater for an adequate number of clients. As a result, her profits are small and often insufficient. Through Family Sponsorship, Veronica could be given the opportunity to start a proper business which would allow her to rebuild her life despite recent misfortune.
Michael is a 15 years boy and was identified by AfCiC through the outreach programme when he was a full-time street boy. He had dropped out of school after his father died from a sickness leaving the mother widowed and the bread winner. According to Michael, his main reason for going to the streets was to make money so that he would give assistance to his mother, who was very sick.
When Michael was admitted at the ICC, he would suffer quite extreme mood swings, showing a lot of anger, and he would often express that hw wanted to go home. During the counseling sessions, it was discovered that he was always worried about his other siblings and their mother. In a follow up at Michael’s home it was found out that Mama Michael was sickly and in quite a poor health, and after some strong encouragement, they convinced her to take some blood tests and she tested positive to HIV. In the short term, AfCiC paid fo drugs, and her health improved.
Six months of rehabilitation passed but still Michael could not be reintegrated with his family; the house the family lived in was so small, so there simply was not enough room, and it was at that point AfCiC intervened through Family Sponsorship and built the family a better, larger, semi-permanent two-roomed house with Michael getting sponsorship to school through Child Sponsorship.
After Michael was placed in school and the family settled in the new house, Michael’s Mother joined a psychosocial support group organised by AfCiC, which helped boost the self esteem, and she continued being supportive and responsible to her family. The family benefited from bed kits distributed by AfCiC, and Michael’s Uncle is also hoping to start a business that will help further support the family.