Shule's life changed when we met the street kids of Kisenyi. And so will yours.
Otherwise known as the invisible street kids, these children stole our hearts. They are called invisible because these are the children, living on the streets, who you never see. They don’t roam the city begging, selling random goods or try ingto wash your windshield. They are the children who stay within the confines of one of the largest slums in Uganda, desperately trying to survive.
The invisible street kids of Kisenyi Slum spend their days sniffing a combination of airplane fuel and industrial glue, to cope with the harsh realities of street life. They collect plastic bottles to resell for pennies. They scavenge for food, usually going days without eating a real meal.
We launched the Watoto Mtanni ("street children" in Swahili) program to combat the growing problem of children taking to the streets. With an estimated 150 million children living on the streets globally, this issue is quickly becoming an epidemic. In Uganda, where we work, an estimated 10,000 children live on the streets of Kampala alone.
What does the Watoto Mtanni Program do?
Our program is designed to move children off the streets, and provide for those who are still living in the slum.
Off the streets
We move groups of 20 kids out of the slum and into our 11-bedroom interim house. There, the children begin to heal from the trauma on street life. During their 6-month stay, the kids detox, receive counseling, return to learning (English and math), and participate in extracurricular activities, including yoga, boxing, soccer, dance and board games. And, we help reunite them with their families.
As the children regain their parents' trust and the bond is rebuilt, we work together — Shule, parents and child — to figure out the best way forward for the child so that they remain off the streets and in the classroom. Each path is specifically designed to meet the interests of the child, to help them build their future.
*Results from our first group of children (27 total):
2 Still tracking family
3 Successful resettlements
6 Returned to street life
14 Pending resettlements (will update in December)
23 Successful family reunions
On the streets
We started on the streets and will continue taking care of children who remain there.
The Kisenyi Outreach program provides the kids still living in the slum with access to our weekly feeding and showering program, medical care, clothing, and counseling.
Every Friday, Shule covers the cost to feed and bathe the street kids of Kisenyi Slum. We purchase 100 kilos of food (beans, posho and millet) — enough to provide 2 meals per day for approximately 140 street kids, over the course of 3 to 4 days. We also pay for an estimated 75 children to shower, with quality skin care products, and take those in need of medical attention to our partner clinic.
But we want to do more ...
We want to feed and provide showers for these children on a daily basis. We want to move more kids off the streets, and provide more kids with access to quality education. We want to expand our programs into other slums. And so much more!
You can help us do all of this!
Join us in making the invisible streets kids, visible #StreetKidsNoMore!
Don't forget to SHARE! SHARE! SHARE!
Photo Credits: SOULJE RIDDIM and Jacqueline Wolfson