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Welcome to the family

Country: Kenya
Location: Nakuru, Rift Valley Province
Beneficiaries: 40 street children from 7 to 14 years who are victims of abuse or neglect family.

Nature of the Project

Creation of a Family Home

The Project

Welcome to The Family is a social project run by the Congregation of Poor Servants of the Divine Providence. The project is made of two main programs facing some endemic problems in the city of Nakuru, Kenya. The first program's goal is to reach, educate and reintegrate street children in their communities, while the second one is a focused on assisting young girls and children, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
The project started in 2007 and it was initially only for street boys but it eventually expanded to include girls as well. The activities are performed in three centers: Drop-In Center (first contact for street children), Boys Ranch (boys center) and Calabrian Shelter (girls center).
The activities are divided into three different environments: the Drop-In Center, the Boys Ranch and the Calabrian Shelter. The Drop-In Center is located in the center of Nakuru and offers a first contact and a point of reference for the street children of the city. In the center, some educators operate by daily encountering children who live outside of their families, the educators try to establish a relationship of trust and understand what brought the children on the road. The children are then transferred to the Boys Ranch, outside the city. In this structure plays a path of support and psychological recovery, monitoring and education that lasts about a year. A short distance from the Boys Ranch is the location of the Calabrian Shelter that is two family houses that are home to child victims of abuse.

The project "Right to Water-Right to Life" was started in 2017 to guarantee to the children hosted in the centers access to drinkable water through a water purification system. The project also includes the production and selling of bottled water to fund the educational activities of Welcome to the Family and cover the costs of the salaries of the operators who work daily with the children.

The context

In Kenya, street children are quite common. They often leave the house to avoid starvation of because victims of violence and abuse. While living on the streets, children are approached by criminal organizations that will take advantage of them and control every aspect of their lives. Street children are very likely to become drug addicted. They are often seen sniffing glue to forget about their own hunger or fear. Both street children and the abused children lack everything and there are three basic needs to be met: a house, clothes, food, as well as access to education, to primary health care, to care and affection. As victims of abuse, the children suffer from very strong emotional disorders on a personal level. The psychological recovery is, therefore, a fundamental aspect of the program, along with a personalized education plan according to the needs of every guest