FIKISHA: Steps Toward Change
I was recently told by my friend and top soccer athlete David Garcia about FIKISHA, an organization he works with to help street children in Africa. Street child is a term used for a homeless child residing in the streets of a city (typically in a developing country). In most of the cases they have no adult supervision or care. They are often subject to abuse, neglect, exploitation, or in extreme cases, murder by “cleanup squads” hired by local business or police. In every developing country the rights of the children is well respected, the same does not apply when it comes to street children. This clearly indicates how they are ignored, not only with their families, also by the government policies.
A group of street children and youth at where they sleep and spend most of their time
The general community has the perception that street children are lazy individuals who depends on handouts. This is not the reality as most of them stay awake at night until the streets are clear and soundless. If they are lucky to close their eyes, then their minds have to stay alert, to dodge the police who come battering at night or the older street youths who take advantage of darkness to sexually molest them. When it rains at night they cuddle themselves together, or sleep standing with their feet soaking in the cold water. Before they can take a nap, the sound of the hooting cars wakes them up at 4 A.M. Soon they grab their rucksack and head to the garbage to look for something to eat or sell.
The rising sun doesn’t give them hope to realize their dreams. It only enables them to watch helplessly as other kids go to school, while their own lives erodes by every single shot of harmful drugs that they are taking.
FIKISHA is a Swahili word which means - Enable to reach. FIKISHA assists in bringing restoration, independence, and hope through Christ to the homeless youth in the slums of Nairobi. The ministry exists to care for and rehabilitate vulnerable youth through the promotion and actualization of physical stability, educational opportunity, emotional maturity and spiritual identity. FIKISHA serves through existing community organizations in Kenya and America to connect those in need with opportunities to become self-reliant and socially responsible individuals.
The members of FIKISHA have supported boys to go back to formal education. Acquired preparation room for boys who are ready to go back to school. Constructed a shower block in partnership with Heart-to-Heart Orphan Children Centre. Established mentorship program whereby boys have specific mentors. Created two days rehabilitation program meant to change the boys negative habits while providing them with opportunities to gain life skills, human skills and other skills that would be necessary for their personal development. Reconnected some boys with their families. Transformed some boys into independent and responsible individuals. Established legal aid and advocacy programs. Their future plans include: Supporting more boys to go back to formal school. Offering technical and vocational trainings to the older boys. Involve and empower the community. Having foster families. Establish income generating activities for self-reliance and sustainability. Increase resource mobilization activities, locally and internationally. Own a rehabilitation centre.
The story of Fikisha
Sam Bretzmann is the executive director of FIKISHA and you may join in helping by visiting the sites below.
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Credits: facebook, http://fikishakenya.wordpress.com