Kenya (MNN) — 35 years ago, a horror
occurred in Africa.
Thousands of school children took to
the streets in Africa to protest the inferior quality of their education and
demanded their right to be taught in their own language. Security forces used
live rounds to quell the disturbance and killed hundreds of kids. Outrage followed this incident and sparked
more protests and violent crackdowns.
As a result,
June 16 has been set aside as "The Day of the African Child." Silas
Kakui is Kids Alive International program director in Kenya. He explains, "This
is in commemoration of that tragic event and to raise awareness of the
continuing need for improving the education provided to African children."
Day also draws attention to the lives of African children today. Kakui adds, "This
year, the focus is on the plight of the estimated 30-million street children in Africa."
UNICEF defines a "street child" a child who lives in an urban
area, without family ties or infrastructure support. Many of these children are forced to develop
survival strategies and rely on the street as their residence; they fall prey
to the predators, both human and animal.
Part of this
year's observance is to move people toward taking steps to protect this
vulnerable population as well as figuring out how to provide effective child
protection and care. Kakui notes, "We
have a lot of street children in our towns. Kids Alive is trying its level best to bring into residential care as many
of the children as possible." He adds, "These children are picked from the streets, and they're brought into our
residential program and given a second chance in life."
Kids Alive recognizes the importance of
education for children to break through the cycle of poverty. However, school fees are another
major barrier for many African children. For
more than 300 children in their care in Kenya, Kakui says, "When these
children come to our center, we offer them school uniforms, we offer them
writing materials, we offer them textbooks, we offer them quality food, [and] we offer them financial support."
It's more than the literacy. Their teachers know that learning can't take place until healing does. Kakui says, "Most of these kids
that come off the streets have a lot of
emotional issues, and so our teachers are trained to counsel with them and to
take them through a process of healing and restoration."
Restoration happens with the Gospel. "The love of Christ is
what Kids Alive is doing, and in most cases, most of them give their lives to
the Lord Jesus Christ,"says Kakui.
year, Kids Alive is hoping to add 80 children to their Homes, Schools, and Care
Centers. The school provides nursery and primary school
education for the younger children from the Karundas Children's Center, as well
as poor children from the neighborhood.
Hall Mead School provides over one hundred students with an education,
along with a nutritious breakfast and lunch, free uniforms and medical
care. For older children under the care of Kids is Alive, they are
committed to help transition the children into well-trained, independent
healthy adults that can make a positive impact in their society.
Kids Alive also provides scholarships for
qualified students attending high school, university and/or vocational
training; they also help to over some of their living expenses.
Through Kids Alive, children are becoming equipped to share
the Gospel as they transition back into society. "There's a lot of
spiritual nourishment that is given to them, so that's how they're also growing
in the knowledge and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,"says Kakui.
You can help to break the cycle of poverty among children in Kenya by providing gifts for education. Please visit the
Kids Alive Web site at www.kidsalive.org for more information.
Kids Alive's work in Kenya includes:
Karundas Children's Home
The Hall Mead School
Karundas Medical Clinic
Kids Alive Boys Center
Kids Alive Nyamarambe Children's Home
Kids Alive Nyando Children's Home
Kenya Keeping Families Together
Nzoweni Home in Mitaboni
The Esther House
Advanced Education Fund, Kenya