In Nakuru, the fourth biggest city in Kenya, the phenomenon of street children is extremely spread, as well as in the rest of the country. It often happens that children abandon their households because of hunger or violence and abuses. In the street children get in touch with criminal organizations which exploit them and control every single moment of their life. Moreover, most of them end up getting into drug business, sniffing glue to inhibit hunger and thirst.
Welcome to the Family project aims at giving a second chance to the children and the adolescents that it accommodates. Namely, the program for street children is developed into two phases which take place in two different structures: the Drop-in Centre, a day care centre located in the heart of the city, which is also the point of first contact with the street children, and the Boys Ranch, a residential centre out of town.
During the first phase, the educators try to establish a relationship of trust with the children who spontaneously come to the Drop-in Centre and to understand the reasons why they are living in the street. In the center they can eat a hot meal and have a shower. If during the days at the Drop-in centre the children show they really want to change their life, they are transferred to the Boys Ranch, a residential centre where they remain for 8-12 months following a recovery program in order to be reintegrated in their families of origin and in the society. The children are supervised by two educators (a man and a woman) who create an environment as familiar as possible and build up sincere and educational relationships. The daily activities are based on four main points: school, play, prayer and work. In the morning the children attend the Nairobi Road Primary School and, in the afternoon, they do various activities. In the centre there is a team of counselling experts, volunteers and a social assistant who support the path of each child in all its aspects. Each case is dealt with individually in order to provide an educational intervention attentive to the needs of every single child.
Another main point of the rehabilitation path is learning a profession. Knowing a profession is essential to survive and to become independent from the family of origin which won’t be able to maintain its children forcing them to go back to the street.