In 2018, we launched a new partnership with the organisation Glad’s House, based in Mombasa, Kenya. Glad’s House is the only organisation engaging with street connected girls in a holistic way, offering a safe alternative home, access to education and support for girls to fulfil their potential. This new partnership will help to raise awareness and funds for the specialist Glad’s House Girls programme. Our partnership will allow for shared learning opportunities, innovative ways to engage with girls and provide ongoing support to strengthen monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) to better demonstrate impact.
Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city after Nairobi with a population of roughly 1.2 million, of which over 150,000 people live in slums in conditions of abject poverty. Here, basic sanitation and running water are not available and many families cannot afford to provide a basic meal for their children. Thousands of children suffer from malnutrition and preventable diseases. The HIV infection rate is estimated to be as high as 75% in the urban slum. Many children living on the streets have no papers or other form of identification, which makes access to education and other social services difficult. Unemployment in Mombasa is 44% – which is more than double the national average (21%) and results in children working in the informal sector or being sexually exploited to earn a living. Commercial sexual exploitation is on the rise in Mombasa, catering mainly to western tourists. It’s estimated 30,000 boys and girls between the ages of twelve and 14 are said to be sexually exploited each night in the city’s multitude of go-go bars and clubs.
Every Girl Deserves a Chance
– Education & residential care for street girls in Mombasa –
Our partnership with Glad’s House is focused on street connected girls. The number of girls living and working on the streets in Mombasa is increasing and no one knows why. We do know that these girls and young women inevitably become trapped in a cycle of violence, abuse and sexual exploitation. Girls as young as 7 years old, have experienced rape, extreme violence and abuse, often leading to drug taking and self-harm to cope with the trauma and pain. Girls are far more vulnerable than boys to sexual abuse,, manipulation into sexual exploitation and the inherent culture of “ownership” by the boys.. Inevitably, many fall pregnant, with their babies born into a greater risk of infant mortality.
Every Girl Deserves a Chance is a holistic three-tiered programme, designed to support girls at every step of their journey to leave the streets, begin the lengthy process of recovering from trauma and rebuild their lives. The holistic approach is designed to empower girls with knowledge of their rights, support to return to education and vocational training to improve chances of employability. It also helps girls develop life skills, so they can make informed decisions about their lives. The programme is split into the following components:
Social Workers form ‘Outreach Teams’ to work on the streets of Mombasa during the day and night building trusting relationships with children and young people. Outreach sessions include Street Soccer where children play football and access first aid; Street Education sessions focus on basic numeracy and literacy and Mobile School – an interactive resource which builds children’s self-esteem through play. The teams also provide Informal Counselling, where girls are introduced to female social workers and residential staff, building trusting relationships which assist with making the transition from the street to the residential centre smoother. Social Workers develop Care Plans with the girls before they leave the streets, ensuring a focus on SMART goals and contemplating change before they make the choice to work with us in a residential setting.
Drop in Centre:
The ‘Drop In’ Centre offers informal education classes delivered by qualified teachers, sport activities, creative arts, access to first aid, life skills sessions, a place to wash and a nutritious meal. Most of the girls have experienced significant levels of physical and sexual abuse, so essential counselling services and sexual health advice is offered as well as access to contraception.
Girls-only discussion groups focus on self-esteem, communication skills, relationships, sexual health and conflict. The discussion groups enable the girls to relate to other girls in their situation; to realise they are not alone and to lay the foundations of alternatives to this life.
This safe space for girls offers protection, safety and full support as they contemplate the changes they want to make.
This is a safe nurturing environment for girls to live in whilst they recover from their time on the street or in prison.
The home provides the following to girls:
- All basic needs including: nutritious food, clothing and health care;
- Counselling to work through trauma and to build self-esteem and self-worth;
- Informal education to support transition into formal education or build basic numeracy and literacy skills to live independently;
- Support from Glad’s House Social Workers and Teachers;
- Girls who are pregnant or have babies have access to pre- and postnatal care as well as support whilst they learn about pregnancy and parenting.
Reconciliation/mediation will be available to children who have lived on the streets and their families to support them to return home if safe to do so. If it is not possible or safe for a child to return, Glad’s House works closely with local communities to source appropriate foster care placements for girls.
We are currently seeking funding to support this much needed programme
Glad’s House – Established in 2006 – Chief Executive Officer: Vicky Ferguson