New Life, New Beginning

Action for Children in Conflict’s Interim Care Centre (ICC) was launched in June 2005. It is a 6 month residential rehabilitation programme for the most at-risk street children, for whom day care services have proven to be insufficient. 25 acutely vulnerable boys are recruited every year from the streets of Thika, Ruiru and Makongeni through referrals from a combination of our Outreach programmes, the District Children’s Office, Municipal Council and other community stakeholders. These are children who can not be worked with on an outreach basis and who are in desperate need of a refuge and robust package of support. The goal of the ICC rehabilitation and reintegration project is to reduce the number of children living on the streets in Thika District by addressing the root causes of conflict that force children into exploitative and abusive situations (abuse, neglect, poverty, violence) through tailored prevention and rehabilitation programmes and enabling and empowering these children and their families in the community so that they can support themselves emotionally, physically and economically.

In June, 25 new boys were introduced to the freshly painted Interim Care Centre where an artistic approach is taken to education and used as a tool for re-cultivating street children’s interest into normal life and formal education. Before moving into the ICC the children were taken on a camping trip to Rowallan Camp in Ngong. The aim of this special camp was to help the boys (many of whom had abused drugs on the streets) detoxify, unwind and get accustomed to the routine that they are expected to adhere to in the centre.

To encourage interest in the learning process and routine, the boys take the lessons as stipulated in their own timetable. They include percussion arts i.e instruments which produce sounds when struck, shakers, clappers and different types of traditional drum, music lessons, routine dancing, acrobatics, and beadwork. In addition, the boys are taken through cookery lessons and cover nutrition  food hygiene (including practical lessons in handling food and maintaining cleanliness in the kitchen).

The teachers carry out lessons on curriculum knowledge, including maths, reading and writing. We use a ‘Multiple Intelligence Approach’ which enhances creativity in learning.

Life skills lessons also take place daily where teachers help the boys to develop coping mechanisms when dealing with different situations encountered in life.

The boys also participate in different games and sports e.g. football, table tennis, rounder’s and rope skipping. Every weekend, the boys hold several friendly footballs matches in public schools within Thika Municipality.

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