Like many vulnerable children, due to famine and poverty Denis lives on the streets of Kitale with his siblings. He works hard everyday to try and feed his brothers and sisters. They only have the clothes that they wear and sleep under sack cloth at night. Denis often ends up loitering in town, trying to find a meal to share with his bothers and sisters. Denis is the eldest child in a family of five. The family live in a small shack in a slum area of Kitale, in Kenya. They are a very poor family. Denis’ father is in jail and his young mother is an alcoholic. Her only work is seasonal, when the maize is harvested and she is employed to sort and grade the crop. The little money she earns is usually spent to drink the local brew, often meaning that the children go uncared for. With the recent droughts in the horn of Africa life has been much harder for families like Denis'.
Retrak’s partner Njia Panda Ya Tumaini (NPYT) have been running the Street Smart programme with Retrak’s support for the last year. From a base in town they hold activities to get to know the children on the streets and offer them some initial support.
Early on they met with Denis first met when he had been on the streets for a few months after dropping out of another project. The Street Smart team always made time to talk with Denis and hear about his life. They encouraged him to think about what he would like to do in the future. At first he said he wanted to start a business because of his concern for his siblings. But it was also clear that he longed to complete his education.
Denis is a very reliable and caring boy. He regularly comes to the Street Smart base and happily helps to tidy up.
In late July, the Street Smart team were offered support to send Denis to school and were able to find a place fro him in school that was sensitive to his needs and could accommodate him. NPYT have also been able to provide shelter for his younger siblings at their residential centre.
During the school holidays Denis visits the Street Smart team and talks to the other children about his life and how they can still have hope for the future. The Street Smart team have identified him to be trained as a peer educator since this is a role he takes on so naturally.
NPYT will continue to connect with Denis’ family and explore ways that they can support the whole family so that Denis and his brothers and sisters can have a brighter future.Thanks to the support that you give Retrak we are able to transform the lives of hundreds of children living on the streets of Kenya and give them a real alternative to street life. You money and support means that when children are forced to the street because of drought and famine, we are equipped and ready to help them. We wouldn't be able to do this life saving work without you. Together we can offer street children in Africa a future and new hope.
We wish you a very merry Christmas.
The Retrak Team
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US Country Director