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Nyeri legislators push for re-integration of street children

Nyeri ward representatives have tabled a proposal challenging the county government to develop a county policy that would see street children roaming in the county’s streets rehabilitated and re-integrated into the community.

In a motion which was tabled by nominated Member of County Assembly Kelvin Kariithi, the ward representatives say that this would ensure that the street children are given a chance to enjoy a normal life.

In addition, their withdrawal from the street would also reduce the street crimes which are often perpetuated by the street urchins, he said.

The presence of street children along the streets poses security risks such as mobile phone snatching, pick pocketing and harassment of passers-by as the street children demand handouts, he noted.

“We therefore urge the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Gender, Social Services and Special Programmes to develop an elaborate County Policy on street families’ rehabilitation and re-integration,” said Kariithi when he tabled the motion for debate.

During the debate, the MCAs also urged the Gender and Social Services Department to conduct a street families’ census in the whole County in order to ascertain the current statistics.

The last National Census on Street Families which was conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection in 2018 revealed that the county had 2.1 per cent of the 46,639 street children in the country.

Out of the 972 street children in Nyeri, 630 of them were male. But the Nyeri ward reps argued that the numbers could be higher given that the street families issue had persisted.

“The County Executive Committee Member in charge of Gender, Social Services and Special Programmes should conduct a census of street families in the whole County which will be crucial for planning, budgeting, policy and decision making,” said Kariithi.

He added that the street children should also be included during this year’s rite of passage programme.

At the same time, the MCAs are also pushing for the revival of Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund (SFRTF) to co-ordinate rehabilitation activities for street families and to mobilize resources for street families’ rehabilitation programmes at the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre and Karatina Rehabilitation Centre.

These are the two centres created in the county to accommodate, educate and rehabilitate street children in the county.

By Wangari Mwangi

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