Thousands of children live on the streets of Kenya. Our goal is to reach out to the most vulnerable of these children as soon after they arrive on the streets as possible. With no other options, children quickly join the established community of street children where they are susceptible to all kinds of violence and abuse. Peers take control of their lives and, soon, their childhood no longer exists.
Life on the streets is tough. Food is scavenged from scraps thrown onto the streets and in garbage bins. Though some manage to find small daytime jobs, like collecting recyclables or carrying luggage for travelers, danger lurks at every sundown. Sniffing glue and taking other drugs is a way of life as children are forced to join the street culture, accepting the abuse. Avoided by shoppers and vendors, through police raids or street fights, children are often forced to their deaths.
Finding acceptance through the harsh realities on the streets, many children call the streets their home. In time, some are reluctant to leave their new identity. Stolen money, no restrictions from parents or educators, gives them a sense of freedom. Hope of any type of formal education for these children soon dissipates.
A walk around town at the break of dawn reveals the truth of street life. On cold, concrete floors all over the city, hundreds of street children are sleeping, huddled under newspapers or gunny sacks, after a long night of survival of the fittest.
Our hope for the children we bring from the streets is that they will be able to one day look back and say, “I loved my childhood at Into Africa.” We want them to know God loves them and that they can know Jesus personally—that He is the One who can give them true hope for their future. In the Timothy House, children do domestic chores as they are taught how to work together and respect property. They are given a quality education and are expected to keep daytime hours for working and learning and then to be asleep by 9PM.
One of our primary goals is to try to reconnect children with their families. Great effort is made to reintegrate them back into their family homes. What a blessing these reunions are!