Keeping Children off Nairobi Streets through Education
Organized by: Beatrice Njoroge
Child Education Support Initiative (Together Loving, Caring, Protecting and Keeping Children off the Streets) P.O Box 53803, Nairobi Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +254 723 750 636 About Us This is a campaign by individuals who are committed and dedicated to deliberately mobilize a community of other dedicated men and women who are able to guide and support children rescued from living and working on the streets on their journey to adulthood. Child Education Support Initiative is a community based mentoring model serving children after rescue from living and working on the streets in Kenya. The children are identified by our community volunteers as children who are living and working on the streets and at-risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency or gang-related offenses. By partnering with the government and other stakeholders, and working closely with community volunteers, we are able to identify, and serve the children most at risk. The circumstances and daily environment that many of our nation’s children and youth experience is absolutely heart breaking. We must remain passionate and optimistic, for we can be role models who can produce real change by making our personal stories speak to their lives. What We Do Every week mentors show up at our drop-in center to give children living and working on the streets a community of mentors who listen, encourage and believe in them. The community based mentoring approach gives the children a variety of male/female role models who show up consistently, tell the truth about our struggles as men/women, ask the children what kind of man/woman they want to be, praise them for their gifts, support them when they are in need, and encourage them to become the man they want to become. We are dedicated to providing this opportunity to every child living on the streets and who voluntarily express a desire to be helped. The Problem The number of children growing up without fathers or mothers and at times without any of the parents often ending up on the streets has reached epidemic proportions. High rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have created a generation of children without love, care and protection. Our Programs Include: 1. Building Caring and Lasting Relationship with the children Every week our mentors show up at the drop-in centre to be: • A community of mentors and role models who listen, encourage and believe in them. • A community of men who model integrity, accountability, compassion and respect. • A community where children are empowered to speak their truth, and encouraged to take responsibility for their choices • A community where children feel supported, listened to and valued. • A community where children see their peers are facing similar challenges, and they are NOT ALONE in their struggles. • All the time the children are reminded about the need to stay in a safe environment where they can attend school and where there is care and protection from adults Rescue through the drop-in centre Rescue happens when a particular child expresses a desire and request to be rescued to a safer environment Placement The children will be placed for short stay for Rehabilitation after rescue Tracing This is done while rehabilitation is going on using the information given by the child. Family Case Conference for Reconciliation This is done after tracing and this becomes a forum where blood relatives sit together and discuss the issues surrounding the child to try to identify who among them is best fitted to stay with the child when he is finally reintegrated. Support issues are also discussed so that each member takes some responsibility. Family Empowerment Empowerment is important since poverty and other weaknesses in the family could be the real cause of the child opting to live on the streets where they engage in begging and other forms of child labor to earn their daily bread. Empowerment may include economic empowerment, parenting skills, etc Mobilizing Community Support Each child will need a variety of support immediately they are reintegrated back to the community which may include the local administration, the school management, the church, the neighbors, etc At this point the child is ready to go back to school or to be enrolled to some sort of skill training depending on their interest Equipping the Church Community It is believed that the church has the greatest mandate in the care and protection of children and therefore the need to be the best equipped to respond to needs of children in the community. Community sensitization The church will play a central role in sensitizing the community on the need to respond to the needs of at-risk-children and youth within the community to mitigate the current dynamic flow of children migration to the streets due to push and pull factors. Opportunity to access education is the best true and sure way to break the cycle of the push and pull factors that take children to the streets!!!