An estimated 300 children and young people live on the streets in Turkana and this number is growing. The majority of children living on the streets in LODWAR live in informal settlements such as KanamKemer, Soweto,Kambi Mawe and Nakwamekwi. For many, their day to day survival can rely on scavenging, begging and picking through rubbish. They are subject to discrimination and marginalization, making it more and more difficult for them to integrate back into society. Many have ended up on the street due to abandonment, domestic conflict or extreme poverty at home.
The lure of drugs is strong and substance abuse is common. Many street children abuse solvents to cope with the reality of their situation, feelings of extreme hopelessness and to suppress hunger. Many children and young people living on the streets have no official identification; as they are not officially recognized as citizens they lack protection. Many are subject to violence, harassment, manipulation and exploitation. Malnutrition is also common and poor sanitation, drugs and abuse mean they are at high risk of illness and HIV/Aids.
The Gen Foundation Empowerment; a way off the streets and hope for the future.
Through Empowerment Programme, we’re helping young people living on the streets of Lodwar to begin the path to a future off the street. The Gen Foundation Empowerment programme is currently supporting 66 children and young people. The programme supports each individual with two large hot meals each week as well as the three key areas of support below:
Supporting their rights
A legal identity, health care and legal support are often unattainable for street children on their own. Through the programme, we support street children to gain their own legal identity by assisting them in obtaining ID cards. An ID card is often the first step toward a life off the street. Most street children have no legal guardian, so The Gen Foundation stands in for them. finds and funds emergency health care when they are in need, and we support them when they have been unfairly beaten or detained by police.
Rehabilitation takes time and dedication. It involves not only taking the child out of the street but also taking the tough impact of the street-life out of the child. Restoring a child’s dignity and recovering his or her childhood is key to enabling them to make choices that can transform their lives and create pathways to a hopeful future. The Gen Foundation Empowerment programme provides support including prayer,counselling and mentoring.
Building a new future
When boys feel ready to come off the street, we support them with accommodation at half-way houses. We connect them with vocational training, education and resources to enable them to get formal employment or start their own businesses. Some choose to go into education, some choose to work as artisans and craftsmen. There is no set route, we support them to pursue their goals.
Through the help of Pastor Robert who is one of Co-Founders of The Gen Foundation, has been working with street children for over 8 years. He has extensive experience and has a well-developed rapport with the street boys. The Gen Foundation’s dream is to open a rehabilitation center tailored to the needs of the children and young people we work with.
We need your support to continue to run The Gen Foundation Empowerment programme supporting children and young people on Lodwar streets. We are also looking to expand this work in the future to buy land and build a facility to be a half-way house and rehabilitation center to help street boys start their journey off the street. how you can support this project please click the donate button below.