We’ve been working in Kenya since 2002 to support street-connected children and children with disabilities.
Live on less than £1.50 a day.
Children and young people depend on the streets across Kenya.
Of the population are under 14 years old.
Protecting and caring for vulnerable children with street connections
Despite economic growth and declining poverty in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, extreme poverty is still prevalent in other parts of the country. In Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa, an estimated 3,000 children and young people are dependent on the streets for their survival. In the third largest city, Kisumu, over half the population live in poverty and 60% live in informal housing. Many families are unable to provide basic necessities, food and schooling for their children.
Supporting children in Mombasa
Street outreach is a key part of our work with our partner Glad’s House Kenya, who are out on the streets every day of the week to check in and build relationships with homeless children and young people. By using sport, such as Street Football, and a Mobile School, street workers can engage children, teach them life skills and distribute essentials such as food.
With Glad’s House Kenya, we also provide direct support to children caught up in the criminal justice system. After they are arrested, we ensure children have access to legal representation. Across juvenile and adult prisons, children and young people are provided with care packs – basic provisions such as toothpaste, soap and toilet roll, which they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Sport helps to build relationships with homeless children and young people
Supporting children in Kisumu
The danger of the streets never sleeps, so we support our partner KUAP to provide 24/7 access to a temporary shelter along with food and basic healthcare. Street outreach workers go out day and night to reach out to street connected children who are in danger. Counselling sessions are available at the temporary shelter, where an initial assessment is done for every child to see what next steps suit their unique needs.
Wherever possible, we seek to reunite street-connected children with their families. KUAP works with the child and their family to resolve the issues that led to the child being thrown out, or running away, in the first place. For families that need it, we provide business loans and training to start income-generating activities. This allows them to pay school fees and buy books and pens for their children.
Children living on the streets may not have had any education. We support catch-up lessons, teaching children basic reading and writing skills to bring them up to the level of their peers in mainstream schools. When they are ready, we liaise with mainstream schools to put children back into education.
“The programme helped my child to get a chance to go to school. He first went to KUAP’s informal-education school where he could learn what he missed by not going to school before. Now he’s gone to a mainstream school! As well as a place at the school, Johnie has got the uniform that he needs. I am very happy for that.”Mary
“Dirty, violent and short.”
The invisible lives of children on the streets
Meeting the needs of street-connected children with disabilities
Many children living on the streets in Kisumu have disabilities and special learning needs. Disability presents an extra barrier to street connected children looking to reintegrate into society and they often face dual discrimination. Parents of children with disabilities are also stigmatised, contributing to a culture of neglect towards children with disabilities.
After school dance classes
Evidence shows that dance can be a meaningful rehabilitative activity for children and can lead to improved school performance and create a safer and more disability-friendly community. Our project, together with KUAP, runs after-school dance lessons for street connected children with and without disabilities, strengthening inclusion in schools. There are also special classes inviting parents to join in, helping to grow family ties and further reduce the stigma around parents of children with disabilities.
The communication camps
We’ve worked closely with Yellow House to run specialist communication camps for parents and children. These residential workshops are about promoting innovative, home-based early childhood development, where parents learn how to better care for their children with communication disabilities – such as learning disabilities or cerebral palsy. For example, learning techniques to communicate with their children along with playful activities to stimulate intellectual engagement. They also provide vital feeding advice and strategies for children with complex disabilities that impact their eating and swallowing.
Street-connected children were supported back into education in Kisumu in 2019. Will you help us reach even more so that every child can get the education they deserve?
Our response during COVID-19
Our Covid-19 Response Fund has allowed Glad’s House Kenya to continue street outreach in Mombasa. We’ve been able to cover a big area of the streets in Mombasa. We provide food and are to support and talk to them. Read more>
We’ve also supporting Yellow House to provide essential food packages to 60 families of children with dysphagia, a condition which makes it hard to swallow. Solid food isn’t safe for them as it can cause choking, so it is vital that children have access to the food they need. Ongoing safeguarding and speech and language therapy input are also being provided during the outreach visits.