Getting Children off the Streets in Kenya: The Zawadi Rescue Center
In late September 2023, we rescued 34 children living on the streets in Kenya. This is the story of how it happened.
Across the globe, 16.6 million children have lost one or both parents to HIV; 90% of these orphans are in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, the public social welfare system struggles to manage all of these children. The kids simply have nowhere to turn. It is estimated that 250,000 children are now living on the streets in Kenya.
Sitting in the northeastern shadow of Mount Kenya is the city of Maua. This little city was home to over 50 boys living on the streets. They were so young – twelve, thirteen, fourteen; the youngest was only ten years old. For about 10% of the cost of feeding themselves, they could instead buy a very toxic form of glue. Sniffing the glue gets them high and suppresses their appetite. The boys walk around in a daze all day, temporarily lose their fine motor skills, and are vulnerable to long-term brain damage.