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Kenya is one of the faster growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many people have migrated to the cities in search of new opportunities creating a gradual increase in population density and people living in slums. More than half the urban population live in slums. Slum dwellers have worse access to piped water, sewage systems, and electricity compared to other urban areas, are less well educated than the rest of the city’s population, at higher risk of transmission of communicable diseases, and live in areas of higher crime rates and poverty (World Bank 2017). While the population continues to urbanise, more people are pushed below the national poverty line. 56% of the urban population live in slums, of that, 38.6% live on less than £1.50 a day.

Ben’s story

Ben’s parents died in a car crash when he was just eight years old. He was sent to live with his Aunt who mistreated him.With nowhere else to turn, he dropped out of school and ended up on the streets of Mombasa. The Glad’s House outreach team identified him and offered their help.

Ben's Story

275

children and young people access non-formal education sessions

25

children return to formal education

350

vulnerable children and young people remain in school

75

young people unable to return to formal education have improved numeracy & literacy skills so they can live independently

£56

per child to run this project for 12 months

The problem

Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city with a population of around 1,200,000. Many live in abject poverty, 44% of the population live on less than £1.50 a day.

Life is especially risky for children and young people living on the streets. Many have lost their parents or have escaped from abusive homes, and have travelled from other parts of the country in search of work. They work in hazardous conditions like on the huge Kibarani rubbish dump, are sexually exploited or engage in sex work, or get by with petty crime. Many become addicted to glue, using it to take away hunger pangs.

Adding to the already dangerous situation of street children is the trauma of abuse from the authorities and those who have a duty to protect them. Police and the authorities regularly conduct illegal clean-up operations in order to maintain Mombasa’s image as a cosmopolitan tourist city. Children are imprisoned with no just reason, often in a mixed gender and mixed age centres, and with no consideration for their protection.

​Our local partner

Glad’s House works with children and young people up to 30 years old, who are deemed ‘too challenging’ by the rest of society. These include those living and working on the streets, on rubbish dumps, and those in conflict with the law. Glad's House's goal is to ensure that children and young people will not be criminalised for being on the streets and that there will no longer be unlawful round-ups.

Glad’s House was founded in 2006 by a group of Kenyan social workers and a group of people from the UK in response to the lack of services for these children. It was born out of a weekly football game, 12 years on, this is still how many children who need support are identified. Glad’s Housesupports children and young people to rebuild their trust in adults, return to school or vocational skills training, and provides legal support where necessary. They also campaign for the rights of children and young people and influence decision makers and authorities to respect and protect those rights.

Project objectives

This one-year project aims to support 700 vulnerable children on the streets of Mombasa to improve their life chances and help them return to school.

​Our activities

This new one-year project provides non-formal education to children and young people currently living on the street and help them return to school. It supports children at risk of dropping out of school and ending up on the street.

Many of the children have deep-seated mistrust of adults and people in authority so social workers support them with a range of therapies and help rebuild their trust and self-esteem. Social workers also work with families at the point of crisis, supporting them to keep their child in school.

  • Young people who are unable to access formal education because of their age are supported with basic literacy and numeracy training.
  • Daily lessons at the Glad’s House community education centre with sessions timed to fit around children’s work shifts. These will be in line with the Kenya curriculum for out-of-school children in order to prepare them to return to formal education.
  • This centre runs an after-school club for children who are in school but struggling, to support them to keep up their studies. There will be access to a library and extra-curricular activities such as debating clubs.

Our donor

We are currently seeking funding for this project. If you are interested in partnering with us, please get in touch.


UN Sustainability Development Goals

  • SDGs - No Poverty
  • SDGs - Quality Education
  • SDGs - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDGs - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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