The government has set aside Sh265 million this financial year to rehabilitate the more than 300, 000 street children countrywide, through the Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund (STRTF).
Speaking during the launch of the draft national policy for the street families’ rehabilitation on Tuesday, Special Programmes PS Josepheta Mukobe said the program was initially started in 2003 by the then local Government Minister, the late Karisa Maitha to reduce the presence of homeless people in the streets.
Mukobe said a lot has been done since then, but the harder the government tried, the more additional street families were reported in the streets, and they now needed to change the strategy.
Most of these families are on the street because of poverty. We having to think of how to deal with this calamity in society so that we don’t end up with more children in the streets rendering our work futile,” she said.
“As stakeholders, how do we ensure that the parental role is taken seriously because some parents have neglected their duty and this is one of the factors making young families run to the streets,” the PS posed.
Mukobe insisted that unscrupulous stakeholders should stop making street families a source of income as some of them have been accused of using them for selfish gains.
Meanwhile, the government facilitates in rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of these street families, with the PS disclosing that Sh654 million had been disbursed to 145 institutions, involved in rehabilitation of the street children.
Mukobe said there was need for a framework to guide all stakeholders involved in child rescue efforts so as to avoid conflicts which have been witnessed between the national and county governments.
The chairperson Board of Trustees of the Street Families’ Rehabilitation Trust Fund Lucy Yinda said they could not be talking about reforming a paltry 5, 000 street children, that even a single institution could handle.
“We have spent over Sh600 million to rehabilitate only 5, 000 children, and now we need to change from mere talking in endless workshops and conferences and seek practical solution to this problem,” said the chairperson.
“Our vision is to have a country with no street children and it was doable because other countries have done it,” she insisted.
Yinda said the problem was growing bigger by day since in every corner, we have street children and the situation needed to be arrested.
“We have the disabled in the streets, mothers, the elderly and no one who is talking about them. We need to go out and help these marginalized people,” she said.