STREET WORK PROGRAMME
Mentoring and teaching life skills to children and young people living on the streets.
Complex social and economic issues can push vulnerable children from their homes and onto the streets. If they have been abandoned, are being abused or are desperate for food and money, they can be forced to separate from their families or choose to flee in search of better opportunities.
Many children find their way to larger towns and cities because they believe it will be easier to earn money there. Without any protection or support system, these children are at acute risk of violence, exploitation and addiction, and face daily challenges to their health and wellbeing.
Together with five of our partners, we work in the cities of Nairobi, Nakuru, Mwanza, Kampala and Harare with younger children who are new to the streets and older children who are part of street gangs, by:
and building a relationship with them through experienced Street Work Teams.
Day Care Centres which give younger children access to counselling support, education, healthcare, food and hygiene.
them to take part in communal activities and to learn new skills, such as growing and selling produce from the Day Centre’s garden or assisting in the running of their poultry project.
the self-esteem of older children and tackling addiction through life skills training, sports tournaments and camping excursions.
them to form their own Street Association and run a group enterprise together, such as rubbish recycling or car washing, whilst also training individuals in skills such as mechanics, hospitality and beauty.
Association members how to identify younger children arriving on the streets and refer them to the Street Work Teams.
By taking part in sports tournaments, young people living on the streets are encouraged to come together, work as a team and respect one another.
Vulnerable children on the streets have a reliable and trustworthy network of people who reduce their isolation and loneliness.
Younger children who have arrived on the streets talk about their family situation and trauma, and return home with the help of Street Work Teams.
Older children have the skills to find formal employment so they have money to rent a room and get themselves off the streets.
In 2019, we are running two Day Care Centres in Zimbabwe and Tanzania and working with 24 Street Associations.
John* was 15 years old when he started living on the streets of Nakuru in eastern Kenya. His parents had both passed away and his four siblings were already working on the streets as luggage carriers. Once he had finished primary school, John joined them, carrying luggage and selling paper bags to earn money to survive. As is often the case with young people living on the streets, John also began selling and taking drugs.
The Street Work Team from our partner, CDN, got to know John and encouraged him to become a member of the Vegas Boys Street Association. He started actively participating in their weekly meetings, taking part in football tournaments, camping trips, life skills session and workshops, which helped him to stop taking drugs. Using his skills and his passion, he went on to complete a driving course and is now employed as a tuktuk driver!
*Name has been changed to maintain confidentiality