Members of different communities residing in Nakuru City have been urged to support the government by making use of their skills and talents to come up with solutions on issues afflicting street-connected children.
Speaking at Bondeni children’s protection centre in Nakuru during the International day for street children celebrations, Nakuru County Coordinator for Children’s Services Alice Wanyonyi said that it was impossible to create solutions without having workers with unique skills and experiences of handling street-connected children.
While acknowledging that all children, including the street ones, are assets of any given nation and are important for advancement of a country, the coordinator underscored the need to invest on the welfare of all children to enhance the quality of human resource in the country.
“Development of our workforce begins with ensuring wellbeing of the country’s future generation,” noted Ms. Wanyonyi.
Wanyonyi said the county was working with other partners on the ground to empower street children with education and a family environment, where they could get the necessary skills to be economically independent and also become valuable contributors to their communities.
She noted that while there were common themes and reasons that push children into the street, dealing with each child as an individual, with their own back-story and identity was key to understanding them.
The coordinator regretted that many street children were becoming vulnerable to abuse due to not being registered, not having adult advocates in addition to not having appropriate shelter.
She said the abuse may continue unabated as many street children lacked protection from family or the law, with no recourse to justice.
“Children are often robbed, beaten or targeted even by law enforcement or government officials in some case,” Ms. Wanyonyi lamented.
She added that although many street children showed incredible resilience in the face of unspeakable hardships, many studies showed that their sense of well-being was generally low.
She lamented that street-connected children often suffered from depression, anxiety and trauma, which then may lead to substance abuse and a risk of suicide.
The Chairman of Charitable Children Institutions (CCIs) in Nakuru Maina Njoroge who was present during the event said that they were putting strategies in place to enroll the street kids into various children’s homes where they would be taken care of and provided with basic commodities and services such as education.
He added that the street children were set to have the privilege to meet with the social workers and counselors who would guide them appropriately through their stay.
He also indicated that with a high number of street kids within Nakuru which stands at over 1500 he urged the local community to build long-term commitment and strong relationships with the street population to avert and reduce cases of crime associated with street life.
According to a national census of street children and families carried out in 2018, Kenya has a total of 46,639 street families and street children out of this figure 72.45 per cent are male and an additional 27.65 per cent are female.
By Esther Mwangi and David Opingo