Demolition and destitution
Following last month’s devastating demolition in Kibera, making way for a new road, it is estimated that over 30,000 people were made homeless. Even now, residents are struggling to come to terms with what has happened to their homes and their lives. Some are beginning to rebuild within Kibera whilst others have left for rural parts of Kenya where living costs are lower. For many, the idea of starting over is proving too much to contemplate. For those who’ve built a life in Kibera and then seen it torn down around them, the effects are devastating.
You can read more of the reaction on the BBC website at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44931808.
Leaving children behind
With the departure of so many to rural parts of Kenya, we’ve already seen the impact on families with children left behind in Kibera to salvage their education and hopes for the future. Twins Shadrack and Obed have already joined the residents of Future Stars, along with 13-year-old Emmanuel Oduor. This is not parents abandoning children. This is parents wanting the best for their children whilst also working to rebuild their own lives and potentially a new family home.
Meet Grace Atieno.
Grace is 13 years old and an orphan. Until recently, she lived with her grandmother in Kibera. Unfortunately, their home was on the route of the new road and therefore subject to demolition and they lost almost everything they owned. Grace’s grandmother made the difficult decision to join those heading out of Nairobi and into rural areas of Kenya, knowing that she had little hope of funding a new start within Kibera as her advanced years make employment scarce.
With a lack of infrastructure and poor access to education in the villages, Grace’s grandmother arranged for her to remain in Kibera and to live with one of their former
Sadly, shortly after her grandmother left Kibera, Grace’s
Future Stars Rescue Centre
In consultation with Grace’s grandmother and the tribal chief, it was decided that Grace would come to live at Future Stars. At 13 years old, it is important that she be in school and not being exploited as a servant working only for her bed and board. So it was that, on August 22nd 2018, Grace Atieno joined the family of Future Stars and moved in with the other residential children. Once the holidays are over, she will also enter the primary school at the centre where she can continue her education.
It’s not over
With stories like Grace’s now coming to light, it is apparent that there is a second wave of vulnerable children following the demolition work. The first wave were those who found themselves homeless and in immediate need of support – children like Shadrack, Obed, and Emmanuel. The second wave will be the more difficult to identify. Grace was supposedly left safely in the care of a neighbour. But, without intervention from a whole chain of people, she would have faced a very difficult future. Initially working without pay and with no access to education, it’s likely she would have escaped through marriage and motherhood whilst still a teenager.
With so many extra children suddenly in need of support, organisations throughout Kibera are finding themselves stretched to the limit. Thankfully, Future Stars has been able to help Grace and we hope that her story will have a happy ending. For now, we will be overjoyed if she thrives in her next chapter.