We work in Tanzania and Kenya, where children alone on the streets are frequently regarded by society as a nuisance that must be tolerated - a 'problem' rather than vulnerable children who desperately need help and support. Many are treated as criminals and locked up with adults, where they are subjected to further violence and sexual abuse.
Poverty is one of the main factors in children migrating to the cities and the streets. Many children run away to escape from extreme violence at the hands of parents and authority figures.
There is a universal desire for self-improvement through education in children living on the streets, and many leave home after being forced to work because their families cannot afford the cost of schooling.
The situation children find themselves in is often worse than the one they left. Rape and sexual violence are common experiences for many children on the streets of Tanzania and Kenya, and girls are particularly at risk.
Food, clothing, shelter are hard to come by, and children resort to scavenging on rubbish dumps or being exploited and made to work.
We want to help children move away from the dangers of the streets and, when possible and appropriate, back to their families and education. We want to change their lives for good, in every sense. We want to help all children who are at risk of running away in Kenya and Tanzania, not just those our outreach workers meet today.
We believe we can do this by raising awareness and changing the way children are perceived by communities and governments, as well helping children who are currently in desperate need.
At street level we work to meet the immediate needs of children at risk on the streets right now. Our outreach workers spend time with children, urging them to consider a life away from the streets, and providing a safe place to stay while we work out the best long-term solution for their individual circumstances. Where we can, we work to reunite children with their families, but sometimes that’s not possible and we need other solutions. Our innovative Street Associations project is one alternative.
Watch this video to find out about the struggles children face.More Street Level work
At community level we strive to make children on the streets visible to society and to help people understand the issues that cause children to run away and that face them on the streets. Our initiatives help the wider community to see children on the streets in East Africa as vulnerable and in need of help, rather than the common perception of them as a troublemakers and criminals.
I want to know how to read, write, count and to be a recognised business man with a good and respectable family.
At government level we are working locally to help under-resourced government departments create the structures that are needed to protect children on the streets. Laws and policies are in place, but the knowledge, skills and resources aren’t there locally to ensure the law is adhered to and bring policies to life.More Government Level work