April 12th marks International Day for Street Children – a prominent day for millions of street children around the world to have their voices heard. KOP would like to help raise awareness of this day, because we know first hand what a difference a little support can make to children living on the street.
We work with street children in Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, where a significant number of children migrate in search of work. Many children are subject to domestic abuse, high levels of poverty, including lack of financial and educational opportunities. HIV prevalence is high (three times the national average), leading to many children losing one or both of their parents. As a result of this, children often find themselves living on the street. These kids are vulnerable to high levels of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and many develop drug addictions.
We support HOVIC, a street children shelter, based in Kisumu. HOVIC provides several different services for street children. They run a day centre for boys to drop-in, offering them a meal, a chance to wash, basic healthcare, education and life-skills training. A night shelter has also been set up, giving boys who wish to move away from the streets a safe bed for the night. They receive support from a social worker who communicates with their families encouraging them to reintegrate back into their homes, seek a guardian for them or secure a place for them at boarding school.
HOVIC also offers vocational training for young girls who had been lured into prostitution or worked in backbreaking domestic work from a young age, and often have children of their own. These young women can learn valuable skills to help them support themselves and their young families. Here are some photographs of some of the girls, showing off their latest sewing to Marti, on her recent trip to the centre:
HOVIC focuses heavily on advocacy, ensuring that there is emphasis on children being taught about their rights.
KOP funded the purchase of the centre for HOVIC in 2008. We also fund HOVIC’s weekend feeding programme, support the children’s education and have provided items for the vocational training programmes, including sewing machines and materials.
See the video below to hear more about HOVIC.
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