Let’s tackle the problem of Street children in Turkana

Let’s tackle the problem of Street children in Turkana. I am concerned about the growing number of street children in Turkana County.

BY AUGUSTINE LOKWANG
I am concerned about the growing number of street children in Turkana County.
It is now common to find street urchins loitering everywhere including the villages throughout the night. Could it be a
result of our parents’ failure on morals or increased poverty rates?
Developed countries do not have orphanages. There is no pride in having children stay in a compound where they are fed using donors’ money. It is disheartening. Can we go out there and talk to our children? Let’s visit parents at home and talk to them through chief barazas, public holidays and mobilization meetings.
Another category are the school going pupils who are more exposed to the world than during our time. Some will dodge classes to go for movies in town and at night you will find them loitering in the villages, looking for where there is music, where there are social functions.

If I may ask, as they do all these, are the parents aware? Do they have time with their kids? Do they care about how their
children feed, sleep or study? Something must be done.

Coming up with a children’s home is the best thing we should do when faced with problem of this magnitude. But many
such homes have failed especially where we do not have counsellors, to guide them through career choices and life skills.
Some of the street kids did not run away from home due to lack of food only.
Social problems ranging from peer pressure to parents irresponsibility could be other factors.
The County Government has tried through the Ministry of Education, Social Services, Culture and Human Resource Development to take the children off the streets of Lodwar back to school.
It is a good gesture to rid our streets of these kids. But much as the intention is good, the strategy has failed as the kids
are taken to Napeililim Primary School and not sensitized on the dangers of living on the streets.
As a result, most of them continue smoking bhang, sniffing glue and they have influenced other children in school.
I suggest the County Government should use a model used by New Hope Children Centre in Lodwar, Nawoitorong.
The centre takes children from the streets, guides and counsels them for a period of time before the kids decide themselves if they need to go back to school or do something else to develop their life skills.
Finally, I am concerned that six in 10 children in Turkana are street urchins.
This is an alarming figure. We need to step up our response and help this upcoming generation. Otherwise we shall be grooming murderers, thieves with a bleak future. The intervention of the chiefs in big sub-locations such as Lodwar Township, Kanamkemer,Lokichoggio, Kakuma, Lokichar, Kainuk and Kalokol, northern Kenya is necessary if we are to curb this problem.






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