Due to political pressure, Nairobi police are rounding up the city’s street kids by the hundreds and putting them in holding centres or cells. The kids usually find their way back to the streets within days or weeks if no one comes to place them in suitable care homes. Government’s attempts to create shelters for them are of limited success, because the problem is so huge and resources so small. These children – whose parents have died of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and traffic accidents, or who are abusive, or who have simply abandoned them – are estimated to number over 150,000. Running away is sometimes the only survival strategy left for them, but begging to get money for food and drugs (especially glue and jet fuel which they sniff) and sleeping rough becomes their life. They are the targets of many cruelties, even by police.
SIM Kenya Children at Risk Ministry (CARM) not only works to save these vulnerable kids, but seeks to reintegrate them with families (where that is possible) and to motivate churches to take responsibility for those in their area. The Ministry coordinates and offers training for many small, grassroots Christian groups across the city and beyond who do their best to house, feed, educate and share the gospel with these children, with miniscule financial support. As a mission CARM itself is poorly funded, as local churches often don’t see they have any role to care for vulnerable children because they’re not sensitised to social issues.
Beatrice Njoroge, coordinator of CARM, works tirelessly to turn such assumptions around. She says, “Kenyan Christians are often seen as having a good heart but being oblivious to society’s needs. If the work of the Church is leading the way to lasting change for children and the community at large, it will be respected.” By equipping the church communities and agencies with expert knowledge, networks for children will be well positioned to build relationships with vulnerable children. So while the Church wasn’t previously equipped to deal with social issues, through trainings and sensitisation efforts by CARM, the past perceptions of pastors are starting to change as they now desire to be equipped to deal with spiritual and professional issues.
- That Kenyan churches will catch the vision that God wants them to see; their responsibility in Christ for “the least of these” in their own neighbourhoods.
- That many will be motivated to financially support the work of CARM, especially now that hundreds of children and youth have been rounded up and become a huge pressure point on the workload of the project.
Go to the donate page of this website and quote project #092617
Some typical costs (amounts shown in NZ dollars):
- Placing one child in a suitable care home $15 per month
- Sponsoring a rescued child to go to school $30 per month
- Renting office space $85 per month
- Running training seminars to equip and mobilise volunteers $150 per month
- Equipping a local church community $15 for each meeting
- Follow-up to trace the family of a child $45