All the children that are currently receiving food from the HelpingSteps mobile community kitchen live on the streets. When we inquire about the personal circumstances regarding their lives, it is often a heartbreaking and sad story of broken homes, abusive parents and poverty. In fact, the children often do not have any other choice but to live on the streets. Parent deaths from HIV-Aids have affected many of the children and as the stigma is still high the children are rejected and neglected by other family members and thus are forced to the streets. Other children have treatable mental disorders but are rejected by the family due to low mental health awareness. Another group has been born and raised on the streets announcing the challenge of generational poverty in Kenya. Majority of the children range from the ages of 7 to 17 and are faced with traumatic experiences while living on the streets. Furthermore, living on the streets has serious challenges that see some of these children being sexually abused. The children talk of child trafficking in which they say some of their friends have disappeared with the promise of a good life from strangers. Also, the children are exploited while on the streets by drug dealers while others engage in underage prostitution to earn money. In addition, the majority of the children have depression, anxiety, and mental illness. They need to be assessed and closely monitored to come up with a way to heal them not just physically, but psychologically as well.
Most homeless children in Kenya use drugs and sniff glue as an escape and defensive mechanism for the challenges of living on the streets. Additionally, the community is not welcoming, understanding or caring for the plight of street children. The home intends to put in place a rehabilitation clinic to assist them in dealing with drug abuse and their mental
The long-term goals and objectives of HelpingSteps is to offer a holistic approach to rehabilitation of street youth by catering to psychological needs, providing shelter and education. Currently, only the mobile community kitchen is operational and due to financial constraints at times the children miss a meal or two. In order for the program to become effective in its services, the street children need rehabilitation services. One of the main aims of helping steps is to ensure the complete well-being of children from the streets. They usually face a lot of challenges including drug addiction, psychological problems, malnutrition, poor health, and abuse. As such, most of them are in great need of health services and close monitoring. In fact, the program aims at having a drug rehabilitation facility, education facility, sleeping quarters and an administration block. The children need more than food to become functioning and contributing members of the community and Helping Steps aims to offer the steps towards a bright future that is morally and ethically founded
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.
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.