They are usually dirty, they eat bad food, they wear torn clothes, and are usually smelly. We call them chokoraas, while foreigners call them streets children. We never want to associate with them in any way. When important people come to the country we carry them like bags of potatoes and hide them because they bring shame. How shameful of us to treat street children without dignity and respect. For Christ sake these young people are human beings. When they cry out loud we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to them. No one knows what young male street children go through every single night. While you sleep in your king size bed, a young male street child is being sodomized by an older male street child.
On Friday evening, a young male street child (age 12) approached me near Tumaini shopping Centre in Kisumu. He looked weak and wasn’t walking properly. I could tell something was wrong. He borrowed 10 shillings so that he could go buy mandazis but I was reluctant at first. The young boy instantly broke into tears. I promised to give him 200 shillings if he told me what was bothering him and it is at that moment he decided to speak out.
A sombre mood engulfed me as tears rolled down my cheeks when the young man emotionally shared his experience about the sexual abuse he had suffered at the hands of older male street children on a daily basis. He narrated that young street boys hardly sleep at night because they are repeatedly sodomized by older male street children.
“Every night we the young male street children are usually assembled at night and older and strong male street children sodomize us. They threaten to kill us if we dare speak or scream. It is usually so painful and sometimes I wish I was dead. No one is usually there to help us. Sometimes people pass by and only turn a blind eye to us. To them we are not humans”
These older male street children use no protection hence putting the lives of these young male street children in danger. They risk being infected with HIV and other STDs.
“When we go to the hospital or police station we are usually chased away because they say we are dirty and we don’t belong there. This news sent shivers down my spine since I found it rather absurd that security personnel who are supposed to be the custodians of the law and order, actually send these children away when they report.
I am standing up for the plight of street children in Kenya whose stories remain untold because no one actually bothers to listen to them. They totally have no one to fight for them, no one to help them seek medical services when they are defiled, sodomised and raped.
I therefore call upon the national government, county government of Kisumu and other stakeholders to come to the rescue of young street children of Kisumu . There should be more recreational facilities in areas where we have too many street children. Lack of recreational facilities has contributed to ‘streetism’ among children because they have nothing to keep them busy.