The ABC project in the slums of Nairobi was established in 2006 by Thorunn Helgadottir, and Icelandic lady who is married to a Kenyan man. The aim of the work is to take care of street children. They have established a school which gives free education for several hundred children who would be otherwise on the streets. They also run a children’s home which houses almost half of the school children. The majority of the children that live in the children’s home are former street children, some are orphans or have parents who are too sick or too poor to provide for them. The local government also brings rescued children from various situations to the home. The emphasis is on giving the children plenty of food, lots of love and understanding. There are also programs to keep them engaged and to make the life in the home enjoyable. Many of the children have amazed the staff by their turnaround in life and their wonderful testimonies.
Four volunteers from this area have just come back from a two week mission to help street children in Kenya, East Africa. Organised by the Beverley charity Jacob’s Well, Samuel Nunes, Grant Macfarlane, Keith Robinson and Christie Margrave spent two weeks running a children’s club, organising sports and craft activities and helping in a boarding school that takes in children who are living on the streets. In Nairobi there are estimated to be over 60,000 children who live on the streets.
Samuel Nunes, the team leader who is also the nephew of Rev. John Beynon, the leader of Jacob’s Well, said; “I have never seen such poverty. I have visited poor communities in Pakistan and also worked with the poor in Bolivia, but in Kenya the poverty is on a different level. The street children had absolutely nothing, often just sleeping on the road wherever they happened to find themselves at night. They have nothing to do all day, so they roam the streets in groups trying looking for things to do, scavenging through the rubbish dumps for food to eat or plastic bags that they can sell for a few coins. The teenage street children then often have children themselves who are born on the streets. You can imagine the pitiful sight of starving teenage girls carrying around pitifully thin, filthy babies that they have no idea how to look after. Many of them sniff glue and get involved in petty crime or prostitution just to make ends meet. The whole place stinks. There is no running water, no toilets and open sewers everywhere!”
The team worked with a school that Jacob’s Well partners with in Kenya. The school takes as many street children as they can afford into a boarding house, where social workers and teachers care for the children and give them a first class education, giving the children the chance to escape the poverty that they were born into and make something of their life. They currently have over 30 primary age children living with them and almost 100 secondary-age children. When the children reach secondary school, they take them out of Nairobi to a boarding school in the country-side in a place called Loitokitok, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. This helps them to be safe and free from the temptation to go back to the streets. Jacob’s Well is trying to help as many of these street children as possible through their “Sponsor a child” programme. For just £18.25 per month you can “adopt” a specific child whom you help to go through school.
Jacob’s Well is partnering with the ABC School in Kenya. We are able to forward any specific donations of money to the school. We are also helping by;
- Help financially with the cost of school uniforms, books and other items for the school
- Provide opportunities for volunteers and teams to go and help with this project
To see more information about the work of ABC in Kenya, click http://www.abcchildrensaid.org/kenya/
For more information about the ABC project in Kenya download the following powerpoint (65mb)