There is a large population of street children living in Eldoret. The total number is unknown because they are very difficult to track, but the estimation is over 2,000 children. Some of the children live on the streets during the day and go home at night but many live completely on the street with no home to return to at night. These children are often forced to leave their homes because of lack of food or violence toward them in the home. On the streets they can make their own money and have freedom from those who may harm them at home. They form communities on the streets with the older children assuming leadership over the younger children. The age range is broad with some of the younger children being 4-5 years old. Many of the older children living the streets are killed by police.
On Saturday morning several of us went to an outreach for the street children. The outreach is put on by Tumanini House (with means Hope in Swahilli). This home is a day center for the street children where they can come and shower, eat, and participate in different types of education. The people at Tumanini are working hard to help the children find a way to get off the streets by teaching them a trade and getting them back into schools.
There is a huge problem with substance abuse among the street children. Nearly all of the children are addicted to sniffing glue. It was hard to watch as we played soccer with them on Saturday because as they played they would have the glue bottle in their mouth sniffing.
It was a neat experience but overwhelming to see the needs of these children. Tumanini is definetly a place that is trying to make a difference in their lives. If you want to read more about the Tumanini center check out their website: www.tumaninicenter.org.