A heart-breaking documentary on the children prison of Kampala reached us in January 2013. It brought the distressing situation of street children in the capital of Uganda to light. The pictures were shown in the Belgian and Dutch national channels and the documentary included interviews with children between 2 and 14 years old in appalling conditions.
The Ugandan government had decided to place these children in the children’s prison in order to curb the number of street children from growing further. The phenomenon of street children is very difficult to combat because many of them are exploited by adults and are forced to beg. The children are exposed to assaults, traffic hazards and neglect by their community. They survive without any protection or hope for their future.
A number of local and international organisations engage with children in the capital. That was the reason why Koinonia did not attempt to set out in Kampala the first 13 years of her presence in Uganda and activity at the South-West.
Koinonia visited the children’s prison in Kampala and decided to take action. Despite the large number of organizations that operate in the streets of the capital, the street children situation is totally out of control. After a year of negotiations and preparations, Koinonia took up the first children from the Children Remand Home with a partner organisation. It was a historical moment.
In April 2014, the first 66 children were taken from the children’s prison and brought to the rehabilitation home in Masulita, Wakiso, Uganda. These children all came from the north of the country. Nine months later, after several visits to the north, we began the process of resettling the children in their communities. The procedure and follow-up of children in their home environment is one of the most important aspects in the rehabilitation of street children.
Most of them come from poverty stricken and broken families. The appropriate support of the child and the parents or guardian is crucial as to reduce the risk of falling back into the cycle of street life.
The first group of children returned back home after spending more than a year at the Masulita Children Home (MCV). They were all coming from the North of Uganda, the poorest place in Uganda. To secure their food and welfare, KOINONIA took up supporting their studies and stay in dormitories. During vacation, children go to their homes. Throughout the year, they are being followed by the team of Koinonia, both at school and home. Children that are too young to go or stay at school are helped together with their families from home.
Currently, Koinonia supports children that are picked up from the streets of Kampala and placed at the Masulita Children Village by the police with supervision, empowerment and skill training for those that are of age.
They are children from different places of Uganda and of different ages.
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