Let us reach out to the suffering street kids

Let us reach out to the suffering street kids
Thursday, 16th August, 2007

Jennipher Taber

HAULING water, firewood, eating from garbage bins on the streets and sniffing glue, such is the life of a street child in Kampala. No chance for an education, no escape from the cycle of poverty, no hope and (oftentimes) no parents. Who is working on behalf of this child?

NGOs do a lot of work with orphans and HIV positive children, but there seems to be a much smaller number working with street children to deal with the root cause of the phenomena.

As an American, we tend to think we can fix the problem. We tend to think that all we need to do is throw money at a problem and it will be solved. During my time at Dwelling Places in Mutundwe I realised that there is a better way.

At Dwelling Places, I met many children with incredible stories of hardship and redemption. Many of the children are orphans, have been sexually or physically abused and were not in school before the intervention of Dwelling Places.

The Interim School, which is an incredible idea, prepares kids who dropped out of school before joining the street and those who have never gone to school. Those who have been at school are integrated into the mainstream education system and those who cannot study are sent to do vocational.

The goal of the organisation is not to be an orphanage, but rather to rehabilitate the children over two years and place them back with either next of kin or foster care. The children at the home were brilliant and beautiful; many of them spoke terrific English.

Six of the oldest are joining university this September. In addition to the 89 children in the home, Dwelling Places pays the school fees of nearly 400 more children in the central and Karamoja region.

I am impressed with their work and plan to sell them and be their advocate in the US.

Back to my original question, who is working for street children and their families? Who is advocating for them? More than that, who is working to empower them?

You and I can combine efforts to reach out to the suffering street children in Kampala and other towns in the country. It takes an open heart with compassion to show love with actions to humanity.

The writer is an American citizen who visited Uganda recently

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