About 890 street children have been sent back to their home counties and tens of others taken to rehab centres this month, a county official has said.
Youth Affairs and Education executive Anne Lokidor said the multi-agency initiative aims at reintegrating street urchins with the families and rehabilitating those without homes, parents or whose relatives cannot be traced.
“We are jointly working with the regional and county commissioners and Interior ministry to take them back to their homes. We have realised that some of them actually have homes and parents,” she said.
There are about 2,000 street families in the CBD. Residents have complained about streets urchins’ invasion of the capital; begging and snatching handbags, necklaces, mobile phones and other valuables.
Globe Cinema roundabout is one of the urchins most favourite grounds, where they have turned pedestrian tunnels into their hideouts. Previous efforts by the county government to remove the families from the streets have been unsuccessful.
Lokidor spoke at the launch of the governor’s Christmas Tree Fund at City Hall on Friday. The fund is a successor of the now defunct Mayor’s Christmas Fund.
The executive, however, said, it is not possible to completely get rid of the street families from the CBD unless the “social and family problems” in the society are addressed.
“Broken homes, extreme poverty, HIV/Aids, Drugs and Substance abuse and general family problems have perpetuated the problem,” she said.
Lokidor said the construction of a rehabilitation centre on a 40 acre piece in Ruai is ongoing. The Sh150 million centre will accommodate over 3,000 children and will be a complete facility with a primary and secondary school blocks and a vocational training centre.
The youth will be trained on Masonry, carpentry and mechanical skills. The centre will host hostels for both boys and girls.
The centre will also have a medical clinic to ensure that those with health issues are taken care of.
Lokidor said there are 320 children at the county’s four rehab centres. These are Bahati, Shauri Moyo, Joseph Kang’ethe and Kayole centres.
“Out of this number, 17 sat KCPE this year and nine sat KCSE. The best student in KCPE scored 371 marks and he will be directly awarded governor’s four-year scholarship award
It was founded in 1950s and involves mobilization of resources from well-wishers to help destitute children during festive season.