Over the many years that we have been involved in helping street connected children, we have realised that rescuing and reintegrating will always have to happen. It is not a 'sustainable' activity as we will never rescue and reintegrate every child in need as no sooner will we have done that, than another child will be on the street. It is an ongoing battle. The numbers reduce and increase driven by cycles of weather, natural disasters such as drought, school holidays etc.
Although we continue to reach out and provide rescue services, rehabilitating children and reintegrating families, a vital part of our work is preventing children running to the streets or returning to the streets. Over the years, we are becoming more and more involved in helping families to be strengthened in every sense to keep them together and try to avoid their connection to the streets. This holistic approach targets vulnerable families with a view to ensuring that they can eventually be self reliant and less dependent on others. We monitor families for several years after our initial intervention to ensure they are doing well so we can avoid them slipping back to a position that sees a child or youth returning to a life on the streets.
When we reintegrate a child, we look beyond just the child. We look at the whole family. Once we have dealt with the immediate problems that saw the child seeking the streets, we continue to work with the family. We might help short term with monthly food baskets. We help with education - this may be buying a uniform for the child or sibling or it may be talking to the teachers to understand any problems. We see if a family member can enter one of our vocational training programmes or be involved in a bio-intensive farming training course or business grant. We provide counselling services. We aim to leave a healthy family that can care for themselves.
Reintegration goes beyond simply encouraging a child to return home and solve an immediate problem. Reintegration can be a process that is ongoing for a minimum of one year, sometimes longer. And a huge part of our reintegration programme is the prevention element - doing everything we can to ensure the family stay together beyond our initial involvement. It is more costly but our success rates speak for themselves and, after all, prevention is better than cure.
Now that most restrictions have been lifted and there is more freedom of movement, life is going back to how it was pre-Covid on the streets of Kitale, more or less. There have been changed of course. A new road widening scheme bulldozed our our drop-in centre and we have not been in a strong enough financial position to rebuild - property prices, like everything else in Kenya, have sky rocketed. Youths and children are returning to the streets in large numbers including many driven by sever drought in the north (even usually fertile Kitale is suffering drought but not as extreme). Families are struggling with an unbearable price increase on basic commodities such as maize - as much as fifty percent in the past six months.
So now, more than ever, our project to aid street connected youth and assist their families to find ways to support themselves, is vital.
We have been able to get our mobile school up and running again and this is a great aid in connecting with children and forming relationships to enable reintegration.
Hopefully the next step can be a new drop in centre but in the meantime we continue with vital street outreach.
We are still languishing in the heat of an exceptionally long dry hot season. This has brought drought to regions to the north of us where drought is becoming more of a norm than an occasional disaster. This alone is a reason for a surge in the numbers of families and children seeking help in the urban centre of Kitale and the adjacent farmland where rainfall is more frequent.
Unfortunately, we are not just contending with the effects of ongoing drought. We are still being impacted by the affects of Covid 19 on local businesses and household income, not to mention its impact on regular donors who are struggling to send support to us as they have all been affected by the financial woes of Covid.
And, to cap it all, Kenya is currently suffering an economic crisis impacting its poorest members. Our inflation rate is worrying and the worst affected commodities are the basics such as flour, oil, sugar, cereals. Some items have increased by as much as 25 to 30 percent even though the overall inflation rate is much lower. Fuel costs have been creeping up as they are globally.
Kenya faces national elections in early August and we await their outcome - hoping that the results will be met with peace and not a return of the post-election violence witnessed in the past. This year is already one of struggle and we sincerely hope that the discontent and worry we see around at the moment will not translate into taking out frustrations after the election. In the meantime, we are doing our best to reintegrate children off the streets as quickly as we can with the funds available to try and reduce the potential of children being caught up in such issues in August.
2022 is bringing us many challenges but, with your help, we can continue to make life better for many of the children desperately needing help in Kitale and its surrounds. Thank you for your continued support!
Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.
Give the gift of stability in a time of instability. Set up an automatic, monthly gift now and get matched at 100%—because the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt us all, and it will take all of us to overcome it. Terms and conditions apply.
Monthly giving is as easy, safe, and as inexpensive as a Netflix subscription. Start a monthly donation to Child Rescue Kenya today and get matched at 100%. Terms and conditions apply.