As Kenya advances to Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), a focus on the talents of children in schools have now become the order of the day without considering what lies wasted on our streets.
In a surprisingly controversial manner, Pastor Joseph Mukolwe of Restoration of Hope Ministries international Bungoma has decided to make the rhetoric to change for a number of children who were once street boys.
“Our ministry basically serves street children by incorporating them into society to make them feel accepted,” he said.
Speaking in his office on March 11, 2020, Mukolwe also adds that he started doing this because of the rising neglect of responsibilities by parents and the society at large which has ended up dumping both innocent and guilty children on the street without any help and love.
“Life on the streets is so unbearable and not fit for human stay as people abuse them, beat them and they go without food which sounds sarcastic for a Christian society that cares for the homeless and motivated me to start the ministry in order to reconnect them to society and reconcile others with their families,” he added.
Mukolwe through friends and other partners decided to start a home in Sikata market in the outskirts of Bungoma town that has rehabilitated a number of boys from the streets among other benefits.
“We have a capacity of 30 boys at a time whom we have managed to take back to school and they are doing well with a hope to accomplish their goals,” He said.
In Sikata RC primary School, 500 Meters from their home is where the flame of the once street boys have been rekindled as the head teacher Mr Makuto Godfrey reveals.
“We have 19 pupils from the Restoration center and the center has been so supportive for the school as they adequately provide for all requirements of the pupils including food for lunch, full school uniform and requisite academic documents,” he said.
He also adds that the pupils are now the most disciplined and reformed adding that they are doing well in class citing that three of them who did their KCPE exam in the school last year performed well and proceeded to secondary schools.
“They are the most disciplined and you cannot tell that they were once on the streets, even most of them are leaders including the chairman of the pupils’ council Ayub Sisia,” He added according the reformation to the counseling they receive from the center.
Ayub says that he is grateful to have been saved from the streets and confident that he will make it in life.
Furthermore, Makuto reveals that the best footballer in the western region came from The Restoration center but was discredited on grounds of over-age.
“Joseph Omuse was a national champion in soccer last year but was dismissed on grounds of being above 15 years but we believe he will excel in his football career because he is in the right hands, what he could not manage while on streets,” he said.
Omuse now appeals to any well-wisher who can help him grow his talent which he believes may direct him to his livelihood in a few years to come.
He is also in class eight and looks forward to sitting for his national exam at the end of this year.
Pastor Mukolwe has now called upon government agencies to direct their helping hand on such children and nurture them because they can also be of great importance to the country.
“We feed those in town on daily basis, our records account for over 300, our home is also leased and the need to buy our own land and build an independent Restoration Home is at hand, it is now my appeal to all kindhearted people including the County government to move in speed and support the home,” he said.
He has also called upon the children departments to take heed of the rights of children while still at their homes, in the hands of step-parents and a midst cruel environments so that they do not run to the streets where life is unbearable.
His sentiments were reiterated by the custodian of Restoration Home, Mr Meshack Masika who is a psychologist by profession who also said the street children at the center are only boys adding that Bungoma is a growing town and a street girl stands a higher chance of being rescued than a boy.
“Boys are rough and difficult to handle compared to girls whom people easily empathize and help,” he said.
It has also been noted that since the Restoration Ministry started, several former street boys have been equipped with skills in vocational centers, given bicycles to start bodaboda, trollies to do business.
Currently one boy is at Vihiga boys, another one at Chesamisi boys form one and another one at Maliki boys and the center as well as their former school Sikata RC confirms they are doing well.
The center has also invested in sports by hiring a coach who trains soccer and physical fitness to enable the boy’s talents to grow.