Playing games at Street Smart drop in centre
,At CRK, we dread the long school holidays. Kenyan schools close in the last week of October to allow for the exams to take place at the beginning of November. Children are then off school until the first week in January. This leaves many children without a safe outlet for over two months, during which time they find trouble or trouble finds them! Children living in the slum areas on the outskirts of large urban centres, have little to entertain them during this time. Often, their parents or guardians are out working and not around during the daytime to keep an eye on them. Their rural counterparts are kept busy helping out on smallholdings but, those with no chores to keep them occupied start to drift towards the town centres and street life, both as a way of foraging for food, odd jobs and money and as a way of finding company and entertainment. This is a dangerous time for many of these youngsters who are easily drawn into the dangers of street life. During the school holidays, the number of children on the streets swells. The only good thing is that the majority of this new population at least have a home to return to in the evenings, however, many get caught up in the dangers of cheap drugs, alcohol and glue sniffing or get into trouble with the police. Our resources are stretched during this time.
Our mobile school is proving a useful resource. This is a way of entertaining children and keeping them away from dangerous temptations. It also encourages children to 'open up' and tell us any problems or issues in their lives. It enables us to help those who are really living completely on the street as well as enabling early intervention for those who are in danger of ending up on the street full time.
The weather at this time is warm and dry and that, sadly, is yet another encouragement to children to spend longer than they should on the streets of towns and cities. As urbanisation continues, the problem increases year on year. Goverment funding here does not stretch to basketball courts, football pitches, youth centres and these are sorely needed. Facilities such as this would go a long way to help us reintegrate and keep children in their home communities. Lack of stimulation and entertainment is one of many factors driving them to the streets.
We continue to look for resources and funding to find alternatives to keep children entertained and engaged through sports or other activities and we ask you to consider a Christmas gift to enable us to help families keep their children at home, in their communities and off the streets. Please consider us this Christmas. The extra numbers of children we will encounter in the forthcoming weeks will be needing help with uniforms and school supplies in January and will have brothers, sisters or guardians needing help in training or apprenticeships to become financially self-sufficient to care for those children. Your gift will help them. Thank you!