In 2015 we moved to Kakamega, Western Kenya to volunteer for The Kenyan Children’s Project. We work to give children with severe family problems, now living in danger on the streets, the greater hope that they dream of. We strive to see them with heads held high, knowing that they are precious and loved, and able to make safe choices. We offer each child we work with a chance to return home. We believe that every child has the right to a part of a loving family.
Life is exciting as we learn to lean on God more. We have been broken with compassion over and over again for the many street children in Kenya. The global issue of a Fatherless generation is spreading. From children on our doorsteps, all the way to Kenya. We are all called to step into the gap and bring light into dark places. Whether that is showing kindness to the elderly in a supermarket, or reading to a child from a story book. Loving the one in front can change their day, their perception of the world we live in and most importantly, introduce them to the life changing love of God.
So many children are living on the streets due to preventable circumstances. Family disputes, even hunger can lead to the loss of a loving home. Children are then welcomed into a gang “family” culture where most fall into addiction and a cycle of abuse. We have the privilege of working alongside two wonderful homes championing amazing work to re-home street children, where family reintegration is not safe or possible. Restoration continues to be priority, as Kenyan law states that social visits must be carried out regularly, to evaluate the current family situation. If a child is no longer in danger and the situation has changed, support can be put into place and the child can be reintegrated back into the community and culture, ensuring inheritance and opportunity to learn family trades. Our heart is to spend time building a consistent presence founded on relationships and trust, not only within the community of street children but with local homes and orphanages, whilst continuing to offer staff support.We hope that this will lead to opportunities for family social visits. Providing a base for reconciliation or integration into a new loving home.
We offer 1:1 mentoring work, supported by Krunch mentoring services. Working within both Koinonia and IFC home, as well as beginning work with the community of street children and the juvenile detention center. Our main focus is to build self-esteem/confidence. Addressing social issues such as anger, boundaries, past hurts/trauma, healthy relationships, communication and positive decision making. Although street children are some of the most vulnerable children in Kenya, due to security risks it is rare for them to be placed in the safety of a home or orphanage. Without a process of integration they can be a risk to the surrounding children in an already established home. Lack of resources, time and people power can slow down the integration of street children for already busy homes. Having somewhere to enable the rehabilitation process away from temptation is key, along with space for family contact, the building up of social skills and emotional wellbeing within a nurturing environment. We feel this could encourage more homes and families to take steps towards welcoming these children, whilst easing easing the process.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH & PREVENTION
There are two large slums in Kakamega town itself. One in the center of the town, where many street children abide and the gang culture has a major presence. The other is half a mile away. This is a purpose built slum, a maze of mud rooms. Hundreds of families, living one family per room. Our heart is to start looking into outreach work within these two locations. To support from within. To look at prevention work instead of just addressing the current emergency cases, we would love to look at ways of showing compassion in action. To create a safe space for discussion and to empower communities to address issues within the home together.
ISAIAH 61 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
The year of the Lord’s favour
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
Thank you for partnering with us in this precious mandate. Enjoy the ride!