The initial focus of the Project was with boys as they represent the majority of street children. We now have three houses – one for boys, one for younger girls and a third for older girls who have been working as prostitutes.
We welcome the children, listening carefully to their struggles and their stories and aim to build trusting relationships. We provide them with showers, and the chance to wash their clothes, to rest or sleep peacefully and to play with others. Once a month we take them on an outing to the river for swimming and fun.
Every day the children receive a good meal and after the meal the boys go back to the street to sleep under the tables of the market. Our years of experience have shown that providing overnight accommodation is a disincentive to helping boys move away from the street.
However, because of the danger on the streets and their increased vulnerability to sexual exploitation, an overnight provision is essential for the girls. We have separate houses for younger and older girls in order to meet their different needs.
We have our own dispensary and our nurses provide the medicines and medical care that the children need. Psychological help is also available when required as many of the children have been deeply traumatised by their experiences.
Social Workers spend time listening to the children’s stories and working with them to understand their family situation and assess the possibility of reconciliation. If this is not a viable option then alternative plans will be considered with the child.
The children have an hour of basic reading and writing tuition each day to help them re discover the importance of school. Returning to education is a key element in helping the children to build self esteem, confidence and hope for the future.