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Street children undergo rite of passage after being rescued by a well-wisher

It was pomp and colour at Nteere Park in Meru town yesterday, during a graduation ceremony of 30 young boys who were rescued, rehabilitated and underwent a Kimeru rite of passage courtesy of a well-wisher Ms Irene Gakii aka Mama Africa.

Speaking during the event, Ms Gakii who runs a centre for elderly persons at Githongo as well as Baby Blessing Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre in the same area said they rescued the 30 children last month and added they have now been rehabilitated, counselled and given spiritual nourishment and were now ready to lead a decent life like other children.

After this process, she added, some of the young men will undergo some short courses in collaboration with Githongo Vocational and Training Centre to get basic skills in various fields that can help them earn a living in future before handing them over to other training institutions.

“We would not wish to see these people returning to the streets. We will therefore allow those who would wish to get back to school and others who also would wish to join some vocational centres for training,” said Ms Gakii.

She added: “We have a plan to enroll another lot after placing the ones we have in training institutes and taking back to school for those willing. We will then get back to the streets and pick up others willing to be helped. Our target is to ensure no street children in Meru in the next two years.”

Ms. Gakii said that her initiative is not politically driven but a calling to serve God by saving the lives of the children suffering in the streets.

She called upon the County and the National governments together with other well-wishers, to join hands in helping the rehabilitated children access training to equip them with the necessary skills that will enable them to create employment for other Kenyans.

Mr. Japheth Kirimi Kithinji, one of the directors at Mama Africa Home for the Elderly and a husband to Irene Gakii said that eliminating street children is easy by establishing a rehabilitation centre where they will free the children from the street mentality, drugs, and where they can be fed with physical and spiritual food.

He added that ensuring they don’t go back to the streets by helping them find ways for self-dependency is the key to getting children from the streets.

After acquiring their courses, he said, the children will be reintegrated back into their families with the help of the local administration officers.

Martin Muriithi, one of the beneficiaries of the program urged people to stop despising the street children and branding them thieves because some of them are very innocent.

By Dorcas Kawira and Dickson Mwiti

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