When you went into COVID-19 lockdown, maybe you started fearing for your health, job security or food supply. After all, we didn’t know what it would mean for us.
But you probably never once feared that you would be beaten. Or chased out of your town. Or attacked in the middle of the night while you slept.
For the boys living rough on Bungoma’s streets, those were their fears every day.
Lockdown and isolation have been particularly difficult for these kids, and at times, they’ve been abused and chased by the police and locals who feared they would spread the virus. These boys were not ‘allowed’ to be on the streets during lockdown, and yet they had nowhere else to go.
Our Bungoma-based partner, Joseph, saw these attacks happen as maimed boys flooded his organisation’s new Drop-In Centre. They were bleeding and injured, afraid of their next night on the street.
Joseph was able to work with the police and local businesses, and educate them about the boys. He fought for their rights and protection, and since his intervention, the intimidation has reduced.
There are about 270 boys living on the streets in Bungoma town, but during this COVID-19 pandemic, this number has grown to more than 350. Many of these homeless boys have come from other small towns and have sought shelter in Bungoma town because they’ve been fleeing police harassment. No organisation has come to their rescue in their own towns.
So many of these street boys desperately desire to go to school or start their own small street businesses, so Joseph and his team are hoping to provide them with this kind of support in the future.
Thank you for helping to protect these boys from harassment and attacks!