Time to give street families a chance, not judge

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – It is a tale of untold suffering when you have to live on a day-to-day basis with the normal life challenges while you are still carrying a blanket tag of ‘criminal’ given by the same society that is supposed to protect you.

The City of Nairobi is home to millions of people but amidst the hustle and bustle, lives a segregated group of people – street families.

Just who is to blame for the menace of street families and do they deserve a hearing or are they just a cursed lot?

To many, the Green City in the Sun has no green pastures to offer.

Pastor Mary Muturi is an official of Maisha Poa, a Non Governmental Organisation dealing with street children and is yet to come to terms with the February 26 incident where a mob stoned her ‘six children’ to death.

“Did they deserve to die like that?” is a query that she is yet to get someone to answer.

It’s a day when all the investment she had made under the organisation for more than 10 years came to a rude halt.

“No one cared to listen to them despite the cries they made,” a remorseful Muturi recounts.

She holds dear the memories of each boy who was killed but has a special recollection of two of them killed on that fateful day.

John Kamau was to be enrolled in school last weekend but it was not to happen.

“They shattered his dreams…all of them,” a teary Muturi said.

Joseph Cuba 19, one of the youths killed “used to emcee our events.”

One of the volunteers supporting street families, Margaret Wanjiku recounts how he met Kamau, who was ailing from tuberculosis while in the streets.

“He was around 10 years. I noticed he was weak and was looking sickly,” she said.

After that, Wanjiku invited him for a cup of tea where she offered to take him to hospital but the boy declined.


First Published by Capital FM.

2 March, 2016

The Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status is a coalition of organisations from across the world that advocate for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism.


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