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EXCLUSIVE: Concerns over growing number of street children in Kitale town

Kitale town, in Trans Nzoia County, is a bustling hub of various activities, including business, trade, and transportation services.

However, as the sun sets, the streets and alleyways become occupied by a significant population of street children, commonly known as “chokoraa”, who are in search of a meal to quell their hunger.

On every corner of the town, you are likely to encounter a significant number of them.

A young man, who goes by the name Lucas (not his real name), reveals that he has been residing in Kitale Town for the past two years due to the challenges his family has faced.

“At home, hunger is a daily ordeal. My mother relies on sporadic jobs that are not readily available,” he explains.

Being in Kitale, Lucas informed Nairobi News that it is more cost-effective for him because he does not miss a meal to alleviate his hunger pangs.

Supermarket entrances, restaurants, and retail shops are their main sources of assistance.

“When I approach people, some compassionate Samaritans offer me spare change, and others provide me with food,” he remarks.

“We depend on the generosity of those entering shops to make purchases,” another street child says.

According to the local residents, the number of these children continues to rise.

Dickson Kwarula, a resident of Kitale, notes that compared to five years ago, the number of street children in the town has doubled.

“The increase has been sharp compared to the past, and it is becoming a cause for concern,” Kwarula emphasizes.

The safety of these street children is a top concern, as is the deteriorating security situation in Kitale.

Gladys Cherotich, a waitress at a local restaurant, expresses her worries about these children, some of whom become a nuisance at night.

“I have had situations where, as I leave work at night, some of them, especially the adolescents, insist on receiving money from me,” Gladys complains.

According to accounts from the residents, there have been several reported incidents of people being attacked by these street children.

As the issue continues to escalate in Kitale, Fredrick Ondigo suggests that some of these children may have come from neighboring countries.

“Some of them are not Kenyans; they are citizens of neighboring countries,” Ondigo explains.

The surge in the number of street children raises concerns, with the Trans Nzoia County government being urged to find a solution.

Mr George Natembeya, the area Governor, and local leaders are called upon to take responsibility and assist these street children.

“Poverty is the primary reason street children migrate to urban areas, and leaders should address this issue to find a lasting solution,” suggests Eunice Ateya, a Kitale resident.

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