Andrew and friends at the Birunda Rescue Center
In the first half of 2012, Retrak's partner project Child Rescue Kenya (CRK) took in 110 new children at their Birunda Rescue Center. Andrew (not his real name), age 13, is one of the children who came to the Birunda Rescue Center in 2012. He is an orphan who was first identified on the streets of Kitale in September of last year by CRK's Street Smart social workers during morning rounds. He had been on the streets for two weeks and had started sniffing glue. He was taken to the Birunda Rescue Center but, while the social workers were planning to conduct a home visit, he dropped back to town where he continued with street life. He eventually came back to our program but he completely refused to open up until February of this year, when he gave us a first-hand report that enabled us to conduct a home visit.
Social workers found Andrew's 17-year-old brother at home, who told us that they used to live with their grandparents. Their grandfather was visiting his relatives in Uganda when unfortunately he got into an accident and didn't return. His wife, the children’s grandmother, then went to take care of him but also never came back. This was when life changed for the boys, and because there was no other person to care for the children, Andrew decided to go to the streets. His brother also goes for casual work in the village and said he was unable to support the boy in school.
CRK social workers counseled Andrew who later agreed to go back to school but on the condition that he be provided with food. We visited Andrew's school, the Matisi Primary School, to request that the child to be readmitted and fortunately the deputy head teacher agreed. After listening carefully to the child’s story, the teacher promised to provide lunch for him. We then linked the boy to the organization Daughters of Charity, which bought him a school uniform.
Andrew went back to school on March 13th and since then we have conducted a follow-up and found him doing well at school and at home too. His brother committed to look after him and to inform us if there are ever any problems. The teachers like the boy and say he is a hardworking child. Andrew looked happy and appreciated the assistance we gave him and recommended that we do so to other children who are still on the streets.
On behalf of Andrew and the hundreds of other children that Retrak and Child Rescue Kenya work with every year, thank you for your support.
Street children mark the Day of the African Child