Kibra Celebrates the Street Children Day

Post by Michael Asenga

Find pictures of the day here
The street children day was marked on 12th April 2014 in Kibera bringing various organizations. (Koinonia Community, Amnesty International, Pillars of Kibera, Consolation East Africa, Shofco, De-Paul Home Olympic, faith based organizations representing the various mosques and churches in Kibera) and stakeholders interested on the plight of these children. 17 primary schools of Kibera were part of the celebrations. Tone la Maji and Consolation East Africa (CEA) among the local civil society, faith based organizations, schools and government departments with special respect to the children’s office provided the leadership for these efforts. This event went on concurrently with other activities carried out in different parts of the country in honour of the street children.

The event started with a match at Karanja Road that ended at Ndugu Mdogo home. The guest of honour at the event was the Deputy Count Commissioner for Kibra. The event was graced by various children artistic presentations. The first presentation being a poem that highlighted on the life of street children. It underlined vividly public stigma directed to these children, neglect and the life of fear . The second presentation painted a picture on the lives of orphans, illustrating social alienation that leads them to street life. The children were encouraged to see themselves as not being alone because God is their constant companion and will never leave them uncared for. Various artistes were present, notable among them being the MOG who sang and danced together with the children. The civil society and faith based organizations, used the occasion to lobby with the government for more efforts to empower street and poor families and for better services for the street children not only in Kibra but the entire country.
During the event, a speech was presented on the status of the street children in Kenya. This speech was followed by a presentation of an on-going study on reintegration challenges experienced by young adults once they leave charitable institutions of care (CCIs). The study is conducted by KARDS in association with Koinonia Community, Kenya Society of Care-leavers (KESCA) and Koinonia Beneficiaries Welfare Association (KOBWA).
The study exposes dysfunctional and poverty ridden backgrounds characterizing the street children phenomenon in Kenya. It also explored other childhood experiences such as exposure to violence, rejection at an early age, hunger, malnutrition and disease. These extreme experiences including peer pressure may act as push factors to street life. Appropriate measures are always needed to effect reintegration at an early opportunity. Where this is not possible, the charitable children institutions (CCIs) could come in handy to save children from severe negative consequences of street life. There are however a myriad challenges experienced when the reintegration process is not successful. First the young adults are expected to become instant adults, fending for themselves and assuming adult responsibilities. Secondly the weak family ties by these children exposes them to all manner of possible exploitation including human trafficking. Thirdly, the children may end up becoming “teenage parents”, criminals or commercial sex workers. Lastly, there are always dangers that the young adults may relapse back to the streets. The government could play a role in reintegration through easing the procedure of issuing identity cards for the former street youth and provide opportunities for work integration. The study is ongoing and will probably be finished in August 2014.
This presentation was followed by the launch of an illustrated booklet on the rights of the child. The booklet was distributed to all the children in attendance during the day.
The area Chief then introduced the government officers who had graced the occasion. He explained that the government appreciates civil societies and other stakeholders working to assist the street children of Kibera. He then invited the deputy County commissioner for Kibera who after acknowledging the work done by the civil society in rescuing children responded to the request that had been raised by various stakeholders urging sub-county officers to be considerate when issuing identity cards to street children. Lastly, he expressed concerns about the recent radicalization of youth by some civil societies and urged that children and young people need to be taught how to love their country and become harbingers of peace.

Lastly, all in attendance were asked to visit and support the “street children day” website.

Schools that participated
A. Old Kibera Primary
B. Again Primary school
C. Toi primary school
D.st Juliet Primary school
E.Depaul children center
F.Ibrahim children
G. Utu primary school
H. Little Prince
I .line saba kings
J.Mbagathi Primary

2. Churches and Mosques

3. Human Right activists

organizations
Hamlet international
Children of Kibera
Carroliner for Kibera
Binti Muslims community
Pillars of Kibera
Scout groups
Lift the children Kibera
Young rovers kibera
Guest
Deputy County Commissioner
Other guests
Dco Langatta Mrs Harriet Kiara
Chief Mr
Ass chiefs

I shall Build my own Civilization

By Yousif Kuwa (late Governor of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, Sudan)

 

My brothers, my sisters

With many apologies

Forgive me for my frankness

And for my courage

 

Despite all the talk

About my Arabism, my westernization

My religion, my culture

I am a Nuba, I am African

 

African-ness is my identity

It is deeply entrenched

In my appearance

Engraved in my being

And manifested by my life

 

My African-ness

Is in my heart

In the way I see reality

It is in my bewildered past

And in the zenith of all my relationships

 

Despite my grandfathers humiliation

And my grandmother’s sale to slavery

Despite my ignorance, my backwardness, my naivety

My tomorrow shall come

 

I shall crown

My identity with knowledge

I shall light my candle

In its light

I shall build my civilization

 

I shall extend my hand

I shall forgive those who tried

To destroy my identity

Because my aspirations

Are love and peace

I Miss Home

Poem by Joan Mwaura, St Hannah High School

I have rights

Yes me the 16 year old

With chains so tight

Nobody bothers about my  phobia for the dark

I want to go home. Yes take me back

Every night when the clock strikes midnight

My innocence is taken in the cold dark streets

 

The people you see everyday

And look up to so much

They are the ones who pay my masters

So that they can tear my clothes to tatters

To you its ironic when you hear this

But to me its reality

Because every time a new dream flashes

It gets burned down to ashes

 

I move from here to there

This country to that continent

When you hear international affairs

What is the first thing that pops in your mind?

Politics right!

But in my case it has a whole different meaning

Oh…the now and then migration

Sets my heart on vibration

 

I don’t want to do this

Please take me back home

I know you can hear me

You! I can see you please help me

Don’t ignore me please am on my knees

 

It all started with a promise

Without knowing the behind motive was to seduce

Yes seduce men old enough to be my father or grandfather

All in the name of money

Money that I have never been given

Oh yes I now see that it is true

God made man

Man made money

And money made man mad

 

I was promised to be taken to a school in the city

Told that I will get out of the village poverty

Please somebody take me home

Oh how I wish on gravity

That it can let me go so I can fly to freedom

And get back to my people

Will I ever be free

I guess the joke is on me

 

 

 

These poems are part of the campaign by Fern Poetry to spread counter trafficking awareness through poetry. Once the poem campaign in finished, students create their own poems depending on how they received the CTIP message.

Set me Free

Poem by Joy Mandieka, St. Hannah Secondary School

I as an activist on my own,

Children cry for freedom

From child labor, rape

Street children and poverty

Why isn’t there anyone to remove

Them from oppression?

Women and girls cry for freedom

From oppression such as sexual

Harassment, divorce poverty and

Also as business ladies what’s

All this about?

Children cry for freedom from

Oppression to go back to school

Go study for master’s degrees

And have jobs but why this

Victims feel ashamed to tell

The world what has happened

To them

Where are the cops?

To arrest the inhuman people

Where are the parents

Throwing their babies in the bush?

The world we are in is evil

The street children do not have

A home to stay and sleep

People are blind to see that

Passer-bys on the streets look down upon

Them. Nobody can buy them basic needs

Others are raped while others  are sold to

Slavery

I as an activist on my own,

I would love to say this

That Kenyans are arrogant and

Selfish. All they think about

Is MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

And ways of looking for MONEY

It is such a depressing sight

To see people cry for freedom

From oppression. Sometimes I just

Really wish I could help them but

It is hard to help all

I would urge us Kenyans that

We care for our people

For they have their right to

Be equal with us in terms

Of living standards

Do not ignore and be arrogant

To them for they are crying for

Freedom. Let’s have hope that

One day our country Kenya

Will be united and communal

Let us be good Samaritans

To the victims even if they don’t

Appreciate they will remember

That one day, someone helped

Them. You would have done

Your part

 

These poems are part of the campaign by Fern Poetry to spread counter trafficking awareness through poetry. Once the poem campaign in finished, students create their own poems depending on how they received the CTIP message.

What was I Created For?

Poem by Sarah Mungai, St. Hannah Secondary School.

Tonight,

Yes, tonight is when it all started

I set off from home hopeless

Seeking help in the windless and moonless night

Our society a cruel monster

Was ready to perch on me

Born poor I had nowhere to go

“I must be cruel to be kind

Is what drives them?

Working in the 100acre plantation

Washing his clothes to his satisfaction

And satisfying him sexually

Made me ponder deeply

If that’s what I was created for

Hard work pays

Is what I kept in mind,

Patience and ignorance

Was the order of my days

To try and forget the pain

I so longed for the gains

Mother at home living on water

I weep every time I think of her

200shillings is what separates us

I so encounter all this for a few pennies

Every day the sun rises

And more lives are put to the test

More children are ‘employed’

They smile hoping to put an end

The poverty back home

A sad fairytale indeed

But,

There’s hope after all

I can see light at the end of the tunnel

If I can empower myself with education

I will save my family and friends

From the daring encounter

It’s time to fight the world

It might take a decade

But the fight is still on

Let’s join forces and work

“A body united shall never be defeated”

Human purchase is not a business

Life is not worth the pain

Let’s work for the world

Besides, “what’s the cause of living

In this world if not to make it a better place?”

These poems are part of the campaign by Fern Poetry to spread counter trafficking awareness through poetry. Once the poem campaign in finished, students create their own poems depending on how they received the CTIP message.

“Kaa chonjo” you could become a victim of human trafficking

Poem by Bernard Muhia, Fern Poetry

 

Lost and helpless,
Her passport taken away
Her ID taken away
In search of a better way
Paid them to chase the dream life
But ended up paying with her freedom
Lost without friends in a foreign land
Her dreams lost to slave masters
Beaten and abused,
Raped and they were amused.
Left his home country,
Only to be forced into labour
Paid with lashes,
His dreams, burnt down to ashes
His whole life flashes,
Because he would rather die
Than be forced to live a lie,

Open your eyes,
Feel the cries;
Of Kenyans in the Middle East
Trafficked like worthless beasts
Feel the cries;
Of young girls in our streets,
Enticing you to the sheets,
Only to give that money to pimps

Feel the cries;
Of child beggars,
On their feet, jiggers
On their hands, blisters
On their feet, barely slippers
Of their clothes, tatters
If only for their masters,
To elicit your unknowing pity
And in their bowls throw in that fifty
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao

It all started in the name of poverty,
Parents selling off some of their children,
If only to be able to take care of the rest
It all started in the name of culture,
Women and animals being offered,
To appease rival tribes as peace offerings
It all started with colonization,
Paramount chiefs exchanging their subjects,
For pieces of silver, mirrors and bottles
It all started with urbanization,
Smugglers promising desperate young people,
With jobs and a better life in the city,
Only for them to be forced into prostitution,
Only for them to be forced into drug peddling
It all started with ignorance
You and me in the dark
Not knowing that slavery exists, today!
Not knowing that we could fall prey, today!
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao

Entire communities engage in this
From Indians to Africans
Arranged marriages, the village match-maker
A Young girl abducted by the riverside,
Taken home by the men and defiled
Only for the community to sing praises
Telling her that she is most fortunate
A husband she doesn’t choose,
A man she doesn’t love
Every night she cries in her sleep
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao.

Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao is Swahili for ‘be alert so that you can speak up for the voiceless’. The phrases are borrowed from the Anti-human trafficking campaigns of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Tanzania and Kenya.

Poem by Bernard Muhia – Poet and writer. Bernard is a journalist by profession, and a youth activist and poet by passion. He write and perform poems for weddings and corporate events. He has written two poetry e-books; The Mobile Office and Be Still which are available at http://www.bernardmuhia.com/. He was shortlisted for the 2010 Storymoja Hay poetry award and he currently hosts the Fern Poetry Prize.

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