For hundreds of boys in Bungoma, the streets are their home. To survive, they scavenge on dumping sites, fighting the street dogs to claim scraps of food. It’s a hard life for these boys who have been abandoned or forced to flee their homes after being abused and neglected.
After seeing how these boys were suffering on the streets, Joseph felt called to father the fatherless. Together with his wife Cate, he founded Restoration Of Hope Ministries International (ROHMI) to give abandoned street children a loving home and an opportunity to attend school. Thirty boys are accommodated at a rented home and in 2020, the Drop-In Centre was opened to Bungoma’s street boys. The ROHMI team dream of purchasing land where they can develop a purpose-built home with a school, training centre and a self-sustaining farm.
Before starting ROHMI, Joseph was a pastor and his wife, Cate, a teacher. In the early days, Joseph would take the boys to the river for a bath and help them wash their clothes. On Sundays, he’d feed them and do his best to treat their wounds. However, it soon became clear that more preventative action was needed. So, Joseph rented a home for the boys and placed them in good schools. When the street boys see Joseph arriving, they rush to share their stories. Joseph lovingly listens to every need and does his best to help the boys.
Thirty boys are packed into the humble ROHMI home but this is luxury compared to the streets. Here, they are fed, clothed and kept safe from danger. Joseph has enrolled these boys at local schools where they are thriving! Many are achieving high academic results at the top of their classes. A counselor regularly works with the boys to help them overcome the trauma they’ve experienced. Birthdays and other special events are celebrated, just like you’d find in any regular home.
In mid 2020, ROHMI opened a Drop-In Centre to cater for the hundreds of local street boys. In Kenya, there are no free government hospitals or clinics and no private or NGO-run facilities anywhere nearby. The Drop-In Centre provides medical care, emergency meals, clothing, showers and a laundry service. It can also accommodate a few over-night patients in desperate need of rest. In 2021 alone, the centre treated 690 patients – all of whom could not have afforded the care themselves.
ROHMI provides a daily nutritious meal to 390 children, sleeping rough on the streets. The children receive a “ticket” to purchase a meal from a number of store owners which generates work for the storeowner. This lifeline not only provides essential nutrition, but takes away the desperation that could drive the boys to steal. Joseph and his team meet with the boys daily to hear their stories, provide fatherly council, settle conflict and dispense medicines.
For those that demonstrate initiative and trust, ROHMI will provide the opportunity to start a small-scale business. The boys are provided with trolleys that can be hired to carry materials, bicycles to operate as taxis or carts from which to sell produce. In 2021, twenty-one boys managed to earn enough income to rent their own rooms!
Through football, ROHMI reaches out to street boys and gives them an outlet to practice their skills. On weekends or when school is finished for the day, those living in ROHMI’s home and others still living on the streets come together for training sessions. They often play each other in friendly matches and enjoy a meal together afterwards.
to support Restoration of Hope Ministries and give children the care they need.