STALLED PROJECT

MCAs want City Hall to craft specific policy on street families' rehabilitation

Ten-year-old boys and girls becoming parents on sidewalks

In Summary

•The construction of Ruai Rehabilitation Centre has stalled after the contractor left, citing non-payment

• The completion of the rehab centre will provide shelter for street children who now sleep on the sidewalks of the Central Business District

County Enforcement Unit officers at Uhuru Park in a past round-up of street children
ROUNDED UP: County Enforcement Unit officers at Uhuru Park in a past round-up of street children
Image: Courtesy

 

City MCAs want the county government to develop a comprehensive rehabilitation policy for street children and families.

The ward reps, during a debate on a motion by nominated MCA Margaret Mbote, were concerned that the construction of the Ruai Rehabilitation Centre has delayed. 

Last December, it was announced that the Rehabilitation Centre, on 40 acres, was to be completed in April 2019. It was allocated Sh126.9 million.

The motion, which was passed, also calls for the regularisation of homes catering for street families with the institutional systems that identify, assess and classify street families.

Mbote said the completion of the Ruai Rehabilitation Centre, will help provide shelter for street children who now sleep on the sidewalks of the Central Business District.

"It would be good if the Ruai Rehabilitation Centre is completed as quickly as possible so that these children can be taken there for care, education and protection from drugs, alcohol and other dangerous substances," she said.

Other centres should also be identified in other wards where children can be taken care of, the nominated MCA said.

Mbote said street children, especially girls, were at high risk of getting pregnant and raising families in streets.

"They end up being young mothers and the 10-13 boys being fathers when they are supposed to be in school. If this motion is passed and executive implements it, we shall see all the children removed from the streets and taken to school and others to rehab centres," she said.

A crackdown has been ongoing since January last year. In July, a county report stated that 1,043 street children have been rescued and rehabilitated in four rehabilitation centres.

The county runs four rehab centres at Makadara, Kayole, Shauri Moyo and Joseph Kang’ethe Social Hall.

The Ruai rehab centre was initiated in 2015. The construction stalled after Tacina General Contractors Limited decamped citing non-payment.

A 2016-17 Auditor General report showed that Sh21.77 million work had been completed by the time the project stalled.

The county says that the rehabilitation centre is 60 per cent complete. Once completed the centre will be fully equipped for early childhood education, primary and secondary education with sporting facilities.

It will have a clinic, ablution block, dining hall and hostels. 

Youths above 16 years will be trained in vocational skills.

MCA Mellab Lumalah said a board should be formed to specifically deal with street families issues.

"Just like we have Culture and Community Services Committee, we can form a board or an extra committee because when the children come here, they don't know where to report," Lumalah argued.

She said the board should be run by professional skilled in children matters.

MCA Mary Arivsa said that a proper investigation should be done to determine genuine Kenyan street children as some are not Kenyan.

"We need to know the genuine street children with no parents and might have been disinherited by family members. However, some of them are imported from  Tanzania," Arivsa said.

She regretted that Nairobi has become the dumping ground for street children.