Mama Upendo Children’s Trust, Kenya
It was estimated in 2007 that there were 250,000–300,000 children living and working on the streets across Kenya, with more than 60,000 of them in Nairobi. Only 39.5% of these children were attending school while an overwhelming number of children were not participating in any form of formal or non-formal education at all. These children are thrust into a bleak, harsh environment often fraught with constant and sustained danger in various forms such as harassment, violence amongst themselves and towards others, drug taking and trafficking, sexual exploitation accompanied by a high risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDS, loneliness and fear, physical and emotional abuse and neglect, starvation, exposure to the elements, early, unplanned and uncontrolled pregnancy and parenthood and poor hygienic and sanitation conditions.
In a modest yet compassionate response to this situation, the Mama Upendo children’s home set in 6 acres, just outside Kitui Town, Kenya, has established good local links and offers a positive start in life to their small band of resident children but also to a large number of local children. At the nursery, a daily feeding programme offers breakfast and lunch. There are no other nursery facilities in the area. The friendships that result from the children from Mama Upendo sharing this creative time with the local children breaks down the stigma when they go to school, encouraging integration.
The Mandala Trust was delighted to assist with educational training and support and re-establishing the nursery class for the youngest children at the home. The nursery class has been furnished throughout and equipped with educational equipment and books. We funded the training of two staff members who are now qualified in Early Childhood Development teaching methods which will greatly enhance the life chances of the children involved.