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Maralal youth team up to feed street children 

A group of youth from Maralal town has come to the rescue of neglected street children by offering them food, drinks and entertainment once a week.

Street children enjoy a meal at the Maralal Green Park sponsored by a charity organization led by youth in Maralal town. Photo by Robert Githu

The vibrant youths operate under the banner, Urban 25 Feed Me program, a self-help group, formed seven months ago and which has since been spending Sunday afternoons feeding and rehabilitating street children in Maralal town.

Urban 25 chairman, Nixon Kiugu said that during the Covid-19 pandemic period, he found it difficult to fend for himself despite earning a living, and that one night while walking across the streets of Maralal town, he thought about the plight of street children, some of them aged as young as two years.

“I started by feeding a few of them, whenever I met them before I decided to start the feeding program. I had to do something about their plight no matter how small,” Kiugu said.

However, currently the program has 14 active members who help in fundraising for foodstuffs such as maize flour, beans, cooking oil and vegetables through a WhatsApp group, which they prepare every Sunday at Kiugu’s house.

He said on every feeding day, they find the street children patiently waiting for them at the Maralal Green Park and as soon as they spot the white Toyota probox they come running.

Most of these children are from abusive families, who have run away from alcoholic and abusive parents, save for a few born in the streets.

On Sunday, KNA found boys being entertained with songs from a Bluetooth device, even as porridge was served in plastic cups.

On his part, Kiugu was busy writing down the names of those present. “From my list, today we will feed 98 up from our usual number of 60 to 80 boys. After they eat I will take note of the sick ones and we will take them to hospital with the extra money left after we bought food,” he added.

Most of the boys were in dirty clothes and a few big ones were sniffing glue and chewing ‘Muguuka.’

The glue gave off a strong and potent smell, with one of the boys saying he uses it as, “It makes it easier to sleep outside in the cold.”

During this entire feeding time, some three big boys were seen commanding the rest of the team to line up on the queue to avoid scrambling for food.

After the porridge and entertainment, the boys were called out as per the list and handed a plate with a generous serving of ugali, beans and sukuma wiki.

Kiugu is now calling on other well-wishers to chip in, adding that due to financial constraints they are only able to feed the street children once a week.

By Robert Githu

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