Street Children of Esabalu – Combating Stigma

In the spirit of the Holidays, the Jidavee Youth Service Group in Esabalu hosted a “Jamhuri Day” event for the street children of Luanda, the small market town which is walking distance to Esabalu Village.  Jamhuri Day, December 12th is Kenya’s national Independence Day.  Jidavee youths from Esabalu were joined by UNICO, a service group of Maseno University students, in hosting the street children.  The theme was “We Live to Save You from the Street”.

Jacktone Ambole, the president of Jidavee Youth, writes of the event:

“The street children are out of their home because they have no parent or anybody who will take care of them. They are orphans and runaways who have often been mistreated by step-parents or relatives.  They have no homes, sleep outside and eat thrown away food from dustbins. Most of the time they are harassed and even beaten by police or other local people who believe them to be bad.”

Clothes distribution to street boys

The all-day event was designed for the street children to get to know other young people, reduce the stigma of being a homeless child and begin the process of re-integration into their community.  Participants received a home cooked meal, used clothing and blankets in good condition, and a chance to share their stories.  There was counseling on an individual level and in a group.  Other group activities included singing, dance and sports/competitions.

“We learned a lot from them!” says Jacktone.  “Most of them are good people and can be rehabilitated. They want to go to school.  Some of them never use drugs or alcohol.”

The next step in dealing with this problem is to learn more about problems of street children and the programs that are available to help.  Amesbury for Africa has connected Jacktone and the other Jidavee youths with Capstone Ministries in Kisumu.  Americans, Patty and Dan Schmelzer, have run this ministry for two decades with a goal of rehabilitating street boys to their families of origin.  The number of children reconciled and brought back from the street now stands at 492.  Jacktone and Samwel Ayula will be going to Kisumu on Jan 7th to talk with Capstone Operations Supervisor, Isaiah about how they can cooperate further to help the street children of Esabalu.  For more info on Capstone and its unique approach to rehabilitation of street children in Western Kenya please visit www.capstoneministries.org