Project Mwanga is a need driven, three phase project based on the streets of Nakuru Kenya Mwanga is Swahili for 'light'. For many kids on the street there is no light, no hope in their lives. Our aim is to give them hope and give them a future.there are over 80,000 children living on the streets of Nakuru. Every day they are exposed to violence, discrimination, abuse from police or gangs, disease, hunger and drugs. Education is the only way off the streets, however in Kenya the state does not provide help or financing for education, nor does it provide a social support system for street kids.
In January 2012 we started working with a group of 13 boys who were all living on the streets, some were abandoned, some orphaned, some running away from domestic abuse or poverty. We met when filming a documentary about the lives of the street kids in Kenya. We decided that we could do more to help these children. Having worked within the child welfare system of Kenya for over seven years with various childrens homes and orphanages, we felt it was time to establish our own project and centre for street boys.
Phase 1. Jan 2012 - Feb 2012: We worked with the boys on the streets, offering them food, counseling and support. We met three days a week in order to initiate the rehabilitation process. During this period we assessed their needs, listened to their wishes and researched into their past lives and education history. Throughout this phase we also had a strict no drug or drink policy and also engaged the boys in reading, writing, sports and team building activities.
Phase 2. Feb 2012 onwards: From the middle of February we started to rent our own house for the boys. It is a self contained compound that costs 2,000 Kenyan shillings pcm, with water and electricity costs being additional depending on usage. The house will now be a permanent home for the boys and will be monitored by two members of staff at all times. Here the boys will continue the rehabilitation period and will learn basic housekeeping and maintenance skills. Those who can't read or write will begin in-house lessons and those that can will receive basic education and tuition while thinking about their continued education. We also plan to teach the boys traditional skills such as bead making and wood carving, so they can be occupied, engaged and create art and jewellry which they can sell on the market and on line in order to make money for the home.
Phase 3: Once the boys are ready, we will find them their relevant places in schools, colleges or universities. They will probably attend boarding schools as it is most common in kenya and the house will be their home during the holidays.
We will support the boys until they are ready to leave the home and be totally self sufficient.