"Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation." Nelson Mandela, 1997.
ChildHope works with local partners to support children & young people in communities and on the streets, who are suffering from violence, exploitation and abuse. Each year, ChildHope's partners participate in The World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, observed on the 19th November, which aims to mobilize and educate governments and societies to take action to prevent child abuse.
Protecting children from abuse in the slums of Kenya
It is estimated that 60,000 children are living and working on the streets in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. These children survive without the care and protection of their parents and have to endure daily threats to their safety and wellbeing. These children are high risk of contracting HIV, being drawn in to gangs and substance abuse and many girls become pregnant at an early age.
ChildHope with its partner Pendekezo Letu (meaning "our right to have a choice" in Kiswahili) helps girls by enrolling them in a 10 month rehabilitation programme. The programme aims to protect the girls by reintegrating them back to their families and communities and ensuring that they are able to access mainstream education. It is not just the girls who receive help. Support and guidance is provided to their family, schools and communities so that everyone around the child can help them stay safe, remain away from the dangers on the streets and begin to thrive in mainstream school.
In just 6 months since March 2014, our work in Nairobi has already removed a 100 girls from the streets. Placed in the safe haven provided by the rehabilitation centre, the girls receive intensive counselling, education and life skills training to help them move beyond past abuse. Pendekezo Letu has learned that this is essential for families to be able to provide basic needs (e.g. food, housing, and clothing for their children) if the reintegration process is to be successful. To help this almost 50 caregivers have received small business loans to help them move out of poverty and care for their children's needs.
A mother of one of the resident girls who was supported with hairdressing training and a business loan to start her own Salon:
"Before I was hopeless, now I am hopeful for a better life for my children'.