Dear Friends and Family,
While we are still in the early days of raising funds to set up the NAKURU SAFE HOUSE, I would like to share with you why this project is so important to us at Springs of Hope Foundation.
WHAT IS A SAFE HOUSE?
If a young child is raped, often by a family member and the rape is brought to the attention of the police the offender is arrested, the child is removed from the family environment until the case goes to trial. This is to prevent the child’s testimony from being influenced by the family. Unfortunately, there is no facility in Nakuru to temporarily place the child. The child may spend her or his first night in the county jail until the magistrate releases the child into the care of the Remand Home until the case comes to trial, this could take several months.
When a child is found lost in the street and is brought to the police station he or she will spend the evening, or weekend in jail until the judge commits the child to the Remand Home the following business day. The child will remain there until children’s services can track down the child’s family.
A single mother is arrested and sentenced to prison for 3 months. Her crime, locking her 3 children, the youngest one under one year, in their 10x10 home while she desperately searches for any kind of day work to feed her children. She is allowed to keep her youngest child with her in prison, a cell shared by approximately 19 other women along with their babies, who all sleep on the ground on worn out mattresses and threadbare blankets. The two older children aged 4 and 6 are committed to the Remand Home until children’s services can find a children’s home willing to take the children on a temporary basis. Most children's homes are full and do not have the facilities to accomodate temport cases, so in most cases the children will remain in at the Remand Home until their mother's sentance is served and she is released from jail.
These are just a few of the reasons why innocent children find themselves temporarily living in the Remand Home.
WHAT IS THE REMAND HOME?
In Kenya, when a juvenile under the age of 18 commits a crime they are held in the Remand Home awaiting trial. Many alleged criminals have been in the remand home for several years, thus fostering further aggressive, criminal behiviour. There are approximately 80 juvenile alleged offenders living in the Nakuru Remand facility at any given time. Their alleged crimes range from murder (currently five juveniles classified as 18yrs or under, in custody awaiting trial for murder), rape (currently 12 alleged rapists in custody), sexual assault, robbery using violence, drug dealing etc. There is no school in the remand home. The children temporarily committed to the home by the magistrate are not separated from those sentenced there awaiting trial for criminal activity. They share the same dormitories.
Springs of Hope Foundation has registered “Nakuru Safehouse” as a Community Based Organization. With your help, we are in the process of opening a safe, secure home for these innocent children to live in while permanent solutions for their safety and wellbeing are found. Ideally, the solution will be to reunite the child with their families, relatives or guardians.
Thank you for your help with the initial set up of this brand new pilot program. I look forward to telling you about the progress of the Safe House and sharing great success stories of the children and families we have been privileged to help. It will be an exciting journey that we will take together.