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How Nairobi MCAs want Sonko to deal with street families menace

Members of Nairobi County Assembly want Governor Mike Sonko to set up a board to specifically deal with street children menace in the city centre.

This comes after the ward representatives passed a motion calling for the county government to come up with a comprehensive policy complete with programmes for rehabilitation of the street families.

RISKS ON THE STREETS

In 2016, the Consortium of Street Children estimated that there were over 60,000 street children in Nairobi County.

Nominated MCA Mellab Lumalah said the board should be dedicated to dealing with issues of street families by having professional people who will deal with children’s problems and offer professional help to them.

She pointed out that the board would work independently like other boards in the county.

“We can sit down and form a board or an extra committee because when the children come here, they do not know where to report any problem they have and so end up in the streets,” said Ms Lumalah.

The county legislators have in the past blamed the executive of laxity in dealing with the matter saying there are gaps in the systems for rescuing, rehabilitating and reintegrating the children back into society.

MCA Margaret Mbote, the mover of the motion, observed that it was time the executive standardized the homes catering for the street children into an institutional system capable of identifying, assessing and classifying the street children in order to solve the issue.

Ms Mbote argued that the continued stay by the children, especially the female ones, in the streets puts them at high risk of getting unwanted pregnancies leading to the birth of more of them hence multiplying their numbers.

“The ladies end up being young mothers and the young boys aged between 10 and 13 years become fathers while they are supposed to be in school. If this motion is passed and executive implements it, we shall see all the children in the streets removed so that those who are supposed to go to school and those who are supposed to go to rehab go,” Mbote said.

CHILDREN HOMES

Ms Mbote also called for the speedy completion of the construction of Ruai Rehabilitation Centre to help provide shelter for more street children who are sleeping daily on the sidewalks of streets and alleys within the Central Business District (CBD).

“It would be good if the rehabilitation centre is completed as quickly as possible, and together with other similar centres and existing children’s homes in the county help provide places where these children can be taken for care, education and protection from harm especially drugs, alcohol and other dangerous substances,” she said.

Nairobi has four children homes which are Makadara, Kayole, Shauri Moyo and Joseph Kang’ethe.

Despite the county government efforts to rid the city centre off the street families, the numbers seem to be increasing with each passing day.

In July this year, a report by City Hall indicated that more than 1,043 street children had been rescued and rehabilitated in four street children rehabilitation centres owned by the county following a crackdown targeting the street families, but that has had no lasting effect as more continue trooping back into the streets.

In light of this, nominated MCA Mary Arivisa called for a proper investigation by the county government to determine the genuine street children, saying that some of them are from neighbouring countries, particularly Tanzania.

She argued that the investigations will help reduce the numbers of street children in the capital city which she said has turned into a dumping ground for street children.

“We need to know the genuine street children with no parents and those who might have been disinherited by family members. This is because some are imported from our neighbouring countries like Tanzania and are being used to beg for money,” said Ms Arivisa.