Background of the Problem
One of the main social concerns is the growing number of street children, especially in developing world. Hundreds of children run away from home and start living in the streets due to various reasons. Chief among these include child abuse, poverty, neglect, peer pressure and sensation seeking. In Kenya, there are over 250,000 children who are living in the streets. These children have been orphaned by HIV pandemic, while others are refugees from neighbouring countries such as Somalia due to war. Furthermore, some run away from difficult and intolerable situations at home. Even though most of the children are orphaned, others are sent by their parents to search or beg in the streets so that they can return home with money. The issue has become alarming as some of these children resort to engaging in criminal activities or the use of drugs. Apart from this, these children also face other challenges including harassment, sexual abuse, violence, pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and poor sanitary conditions. In the end, boys end up engaging in garbage collection or crime while girls engage in sex trade, or even become sex slaves.
About the charity
Helping steps is a non-profit organisation aimed at helping street children and jobless youths around the world. The main mission is to assist children living in the streets in Kenya by rescuing them, rehabilitating as well as restoring them to reach their full potential through counselling and education. It provides the children with basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare and mentor ship. The project protects these children from harm by giving them a voice and a place
to call home. In addition, it
helps them to cope with their lives mentally, physically and emotionally while
guiding them to a better future and realising their full potential.
One of the main motivations for opening this charity is to be able to give help and voice to those who are in need. From an early age, we have always been interested in making the world a better place for everyone. Our interest expanded from our home area to other regions because we realised that while we may have a comfortable life, there are many other people out there who face a lot of challenges and cannot even afford the most basic needs. We recognise the challenges associated with poverty. We studied international relations in order to understand and have a better view of the world as a whole. Our dream is to see each child have a better life and a future that they deserve. Most of these children have a very good potential but lack the resources needed to achieve their goals. It is therefore Our belief that this project will positively change and save the lives of many young people because they are our future generation and have the power to change the world to a better place.
The project aims at establishing a rehabilitation center for about
5,000 vulnerable children living in the streets and slums. It will provide
shelter, care, psychological support and nurturing of talent. This also
involves creating an awareness on substance abuse which will ensure that the
children understand consequences of drug abuse, including violence and
unhealthy sexual behaviours. Helping steps will ensure that children
receive the help that they need by building families to take care of them and
shape their future, while at the same time developing and strengthening the
surrounding environment such as caregivers, community members as well as social
systems like schools.
The children are also trained to become active and productive members of their own communities by encouraging them to embrace their culture, religion and personality. This includes strength, weaknesses, feelings, thoughts and beliefs, in order to enhance their self-confidence, self-reliance and personal identity. Furthermore, the children will be able to recognise and also express their own individual abilities, talents and interests. The program will provide education and skills training so that not only can they positively contribute to the society, but they will also have the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in their future lives and careers.
The final outcome of this project is to develop and strengthen the community in which these children live in. As noted, most of these children run to the streets due to various challenges they face in their communities and homes. As such, it is important to ensure that the grassroots or the base of the problem is taken care of or effectively solved. One of the main ways of doing this is by sharing the community life and responding to some of the most important social needs of the community, especially for the young people. Facilities and programs are established in order to strengthen families so as to prevent abandonment and running away from home due to lack of basic needs. Additionally, we join hands with community members in supporting self-reliance, education and
Sustainability and Achieving Outcomes
In order to achieve these outcomes, helping steps has come up with various strategies which will ensure sustainability of the project. First, our team identifies existing social groupings of street children and then commences a transformation mechanism for these groups, as they are brought into the rehabilitation center. This involves interacting with them and working with them to develop a code of conduct which governs how the children interact with one another and also with members of the public. The process further encourages capacity building as the children are encouraged to identify their own problems while generating solutions to them. Moreover, the children are empowered to remove other children from the streets and refer them to the rehabilitation center since they are more familiar with the streets.
The other strategy involves building families within the charity home. This is done by dividing the children into groups of six and then assigning them to two mentors who will also act as their guardians. They are then raised in a family setting and given all the necessary needs they may require including food, clothing and support. Apart from families within, the children may also be placed in foster homes where they are raised appropriately. They are also enrolled in schools while their performance is strictly monitored. For young adults, they may either be given a job or enrolled in training programs. Community participation is an important aspect of this project. The charity works with schools and local organisations in order to offer special support and understand the unique situation that street children face or the psychological transformation they have to undergo.