A dirty city dump is home to approximately 100 street children in Meru, Kenya. They are mostly boys, ranging in age from about eight years old to their early twenties. There are a few girls, primarily older girls who have a boyfriend in the dump. It is a scary, dangerous place.
At any given time, there is usually a family or two, complete with toddlers and infants residing in the refuse. Many of the children are addicted to sniffing glue, which is their only escape from the constant hunger and terror in their young lives. Townspeople generally attribute any theft, vandalism, or violence to the street children, rightly or wrongly.
The children come from a variety of backgrounds. Some were raised in Meru. Others come from rural areas. Some are orphans. Others left home, because there was no food, and they were a drain on the family. Each child has their own story. They beg and often steal for food, clothing, and their only comfort in life–glue.
A few years ago, the Kaaga Synod stepped in to try to address the street boys varied situations and to help them. Bishop Catherine Mutua bravely visited the dump, bringing with her tea and doughnuts. She did not know what she would encounter at the dump. She feared she might be robbed, beaten, or worse. Yet, she felt this was a cause for which she was willing even to die. Due to her notoriety as Bishop and her peace offering as food, the boys came to her and did not harm her. Much has been done since that day to rehabilitate many children. Some children have been trained for jobs and gotten their own homes. Some young children have been reunited with families or taken into orphanages. A feeding program has begun, so hopefully no more of the children will die from hunger.
Despite the successes, the problem is ongoing. The dump’s population is very fluid. It seems that when one child is helped to improve their situation, there is another child coming to the dump to replace him. Your donation can help in a variety of ways. While some of these boys need sponsors, others are older and merely need to be trained, so that they can hold a job. Your donation may pay for a boy to take a driving class, so he can make deliveries. Or for clothes, so he has something appropriate to wear in his new job. Whatever it is, your donation can not only change a life, but quite possibly save a life.