It’s estimated 60,000 children live on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya. A study commissioned by the Consortium of Street Children (CSC) brings together some staggering numbers, varying from 40,000 in Nairobi to 300,000 street kids in Kenya.*
The subculture on the streets of Kenya is frightful with children’s rights being constantly violated. They are frequently harassed and exploited and the absence of adult care means many children are forced to assume adult responsibilities.
About 63 percent of the children have been on the streets either on a part-time or full-time basis for up to 5 years. Over 12 percent have been on the streets for between 6-10 years while another 13 percent cannot remember when they had started to live on the streets.*
We all can agree, these numbers are high and completely unacceptable.
Andrew is an inspirational young man who went from years living as street kid in Kenya, to creating a thriving business. Let us tell you his story.
Issues within Andrew’s family meant he spent 7 years on the street, struggling for food. “Life was hard for us”. Andrew used to sleep in a tunnel under a shop. It’s unimaginable.
“I was young, and I had to struggle to earn something to eat.”
He was left with no option other than to beg. Andrew was occasionally able to do small jobs for others to earn a few dollars. In spite of everything, Andrew tried his best to think of ways forward. He says “he believes in himself”, showing a determination not often seen. Andrew proudly tells us he never stole to provide for himself.
Life was more than a struggle for Andrew until he heard about our partner program, the Alfajiri children’s program, who supported him to start a business, fetching water.
Having a simple trolley to transport the water meant Andrew didn’t have to carry the 20kg barrels of water on his shoulder. It also meant Andrew could carry seven times more water in one trip.
“I wanted to live, And to live you have to eat, And to eat you have to have money”
The BTO funded program rented Andrew a house, bought him a bed, blankets, soap, and clothes. “I thought, this is the life I wanted”, says Andrew, “I have to do my best to not let myself down”. He wanted to stand by himself and regain his independence.
Andrew’s water carting business was just the beginning. Being extremely good at saving, he took his savings and opened a small general shop. As the oldest child in his family, Andrew supports his family. He says his mother is getting older so he also takes care of his sister. Andrew doesn’t have a father.
In case you’re wondering about his water carting business, Andrew gave this to his friend, who, like him, needed a way off the streets and has a family to support. Andrew is an inspiration to other children in our Alfajiri program and to his family.
Andrew’s story highlights what Beyond The Orphanage is all about. It’s about taking a child that’s vulnerable and at-risk and seeing them through to become independent adults. Together we can help more children like Andrew create a better life for themselves and their communities.
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BTO'S christmas appeal FOR Kenya
Childhood should not be spent on the streets, in a warzone, collecting scraps from rubbish tips to sell for food and drugs. Childhood should not be spent running to avoid being beaten, sometimes to death. The future is not bright for the street kids of Kenya, but it's a future which...