Africa Direct has been working with St. Marian Children’s Centre since its beginning in 2008. This organisation grew out of a need to provide shelter and security for vulnerable children found in the Mukuru slum area in Nairobi.

Their mission is to rescue children from insecure environments by giving them short term shelter, education and responding to their psychological and spiritual needs

While the child is at the centre, their case is assessed through home visits. Possible places for repatriation are identified, usually with family/ extended family, and assessed. Their aim is to empower the vulnerable children’s guardians through outreach programs by providing training in setting up small businesses. Once repatriated, the children are assisted with education sponsorship where needed, and follow-ups are carried out to monitor the child’s situation.

Projects

Shelter

The center receives children through referrals from social workers or community health workers. The center takes both boys and girls under the age of 15 (sometimes over in exceptional cases) and can hold around 15 children. They stay for a maximum of 2 years, depending on their situation.

The first step to re-integrating a child is to trace family members who are willing to take on the child’s upbringing. Staff members often travel long distances upcountry to visit these families. Once a suitable family member is identified a house visit is undertaken by a member of staff to assess the home situation. Over the next two house visits the child accompanies the member of staff and finally the child will go and stay with the guardian for 1-2 weeks on a trial basis. If all of this works out the child is eventually re-integrated with the new guardian. For up to two years after re-integration the center will continue visiting the child to follow up how they are doing. During all this process family members are provided with counselling and in some cases with assistance to start a small business or boost an existing business.

Education

Most children are sponsored into primary or secondary education while they are with the center. However, for those children who have fallen far behind their classmates or those who have exceptional cases where it is too dangerous to leave the center there is an in-house teacher. This teacher provides intensive education to ensure that every child reaches the level of education they should be at.

Health

During the child’s stay at the center they are provided with one-on-one counselling to deal with their traumas. This support continues for two years after the child has been re-integrated with their family.

At the center the children are feed three nutritious meals a day. When medical attention is needed they are facilitated to visit a doctor or nurse.

Economic Empowerment

During the process of repatriation, families who are identified to take on a child from the center are sometimes given assistance to start a small business or boost an existing business. The center does not give out cash but will purchase the goods for the guardian when provided with an acceptable business plan. Follow ups are conducted for the businesses as well as the children. Supporting host families with economic security ensures a more successful re-integration for the child.

Africa Direct & St Marian Children’s Centre

Running Costs

We make a yearly significant contribution to the running of the Temporary Home