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Govt rescues 30 street children

The government has rescued 30 children from the streets of Nairobi as part of a new exercise to rehabilitate families.

This is part of a four-week exercise rapid response initiative rescue programme by the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund (SFRTF) targeting street children aged between 8 and 14 years, amid an upsurge of the said children in the capital.

Speaking while launching the exercise at Uhuru Park, SFRTF chairperson Mary Wambui said the programme targets to rescue at least 500 street children from Nairobi streets following an increase in their numbers due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Nairobi County leads in the number of street families estimated to be close to 60,000 although conservative figures by the government puts the numbers at 15,337.

The rescued, she said, will be placed in partner street families rehabilitation institutions in Nairobi to be taken through a rehabilitation programme spanning between three and nine months before eventually being reintegrated back to the community after the rehabilitation process.

“We have today rescued 30 children but next week we target to rescue 200 of them. We have partnered with Kwetu Home of Peace in this exercise,” said Ms Wambui.

The former Othaya MP explained that the rescued children will be taken through both formal and informal education in order to enable them acquire life skills to better their lives.

“We will also look into supporting parents of the integrated ones by giving them some money to take care of the children while living with them as well as some money to have them start business to earn a living,” she said.

On her part, Kwetu Home of Peace manager Sister Jane Rose Nyongesa said the rescued children will be cleaned, given new clothes and detoxified in the first week.

They will then be taken through counselling and informal learning to gauge where they will be taken to and at what level in terms of education for the next three months.

The informal learning, she pointed out, will enable grouping of the children according to the level they were before they dropped out of school as well as gauge whether they know how to read so as to know where to place them in formal education with those not able to fit in formal education taken through life skills training.

“Our first stop will be Madaraka home where they will stay for three months. We will then take them to Ruai rehabilitation centre to get formal education,” said Ms Nyongesa.

She said that home tracing will also run concurrently with the programme in order to facilitate rehabilitation of the children.

“We look for parents or any guardian they were living with but if they don’t have any relatives we connect them to homes which can stay with them until they attain 18 years,” she said.