Teenagers Plus Community Based Organization

Friday, Aug 17th 2018

St. Bakhita Children's Centre

St. Bakhita

UNICEF defines an abandoned child as one who:

  • Does not know where his or her next meal is coming from.
  • Does not know where he or she is spending the night.
  • He or she does not live with either the mother or the father.

St. Bakhita Children’s Centre is a faith based children’s rescue center giving priority to HIV+ children between the ages of 3-10years, located in the serenely quiet location of Limuru sub-county, Kiambu county of Kenya, the environment and location are conducive to children upbringing with a supportive village setting ideal for exploration, learn & Play.

Most of our Children come to the Centre from police division as abandoned children, through a Magistrates’ court order through the sub county’s children’s office. Normally they’d be taken to local administrative offices rescued by good Samaritans. These offices screen & refer to Nairobi children’s home which the single government run facility which constantly find these numbers overwhelming, resources strained & facing health risks due to congestion. This specific facility which also facilitates legal adoption processes is challenged to find those willing to adopt the population with HIV, and lacks also the mechanism for school enrolment once these kids reach school-age, a dilemma onset. During such exercises, the children most affected are those with special needs, such as those HIV+ whose care is more involving in nature hence in need of intervention. Teenagers Plus seeks to bridge this gap, through such programming such as St. Bakhita Centre and ultimately “Tiplus Village of Divine Mercy” Sagana.

St. Bakhita Centre’s objective interventions is to alleviate immediate conditions affecting these vulnerable children, especially those neglected and or abandoned in these facilities, or in the community due to their HIV status.  Its outreach program involves engaging the community in awareness forums and demystifying myths around HIV, encouraging reintegration, community care and support of this minority population while creating a conducive environment devoid of stigmatization& discrimination.

Most cases are taken up by non-governmental organizations that often drop out midway through the process. “There is no state-paid legal aid system in Kenya as well as clear provisions on how this can be funded. Usually, courts assign pro bono lawyers to take up cases involving children. It is extremely hard for children who are victims,”

The Judiciary is alarmed by the increasing number of parents abandoning their children to the harsh and cruel realities of life, a reality pointed out by the Chief Registrar Anne Amadi reporting on the Judiciary’s intention to increase the number of judges handling children-related matters. (The Daily Nation Wednesday, August 12, 2015.)

Child-led families as a consequence of HIV pandemic; children as young as 12  are forced to assume adult responsibilities and take care of themselves and sometimes their siblings from such a tender age. As a consequence, they are thrust into a bleak, harsh and depraved environment often fraught with constant and sustained dangers such as:

  • Harassment & exploitation for sexual & criminal activities.
  • Violence amongst themselves and towards others
  • Engaging in risky behaviors such as substance abuse & exposure to STIs/HIV
  • Starvation & Malnutrition
  • Poverty cycle & high mortality.

It is these impact of pscyho-socio-economic effect that St. Bakhita Children Program seeks to mitigate affecting the most vulnerable children, orphans; especially those living with HIV.

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University of Nairobi