Off the Streets in Molo and into School

Posted on 27 February 2009. Filed under: Education, Insecurity |


Photo: Keishamaza Rukikaire/IRIN
Children at the Molo Street Children Project: The poject rehabilitates former street-children and was involved in re-uniting children who lost contact with their parents during the 2008 post-election violence

MOLO, 24 February 2009 (IRIN) – When Sonia Donnan, originally from Jamaica, accompanied her husband to work in Kenya in 2003, she never imagined she would end up looking after street-children in Molo town, Rift Valley Province.

“A short while into my stay in Molo, I realised there were children living by themselves in parts of the town, with some looking after other children,” Donnan said. “I thought of establishing a day-care centre at the local church to help [them].”

Funded by family, friends and well-wishers, she and her husband, Chris Donnan, teamed up with Molo Happy Church to set up a day-care centre for the children.

The Molo Street Children Project began with a small house near the church. By 2004, 10 children were attending school and one a training centre.

Election fallout

In early 2008, Donnan was forced to close the facility as post-election violence swept across the province.


Photo: Keishamaza Rukikaire/IRIN
The Molo Street Children Project acquired 1.05ha on the outskirts of Molo and rehabilitated a building on the site. It now caters for about 90 children, most of whom have been placed in nearby schools

“We kept track of the children; three were boys whose father was an alcoholic and we tried to urge them to stay at home but they went without food for days,” she said.

“At one time, following a heavy downpour, the boys spent three nights on their feet as their home was flooded and their father just slept in the water; I began looking into ways of helping these children despite the tension that still prevailed in the area.”

Around April 2008, as things calmed down across the province and government and aid agencies sought to resettle hundreds of thousands of displaced, Donnan started looking for a more permanent home for the children.

The project acquired 1.05ha on the outskirts of Molo and rehabilitated a building on the site. It now caters for about 90 children, most of whom have been placed in nearby schools.

“Not all the children we deal with are without homes,” Richard Njoroge, a social worker on the project, said. “Due to ethnic violence experienced in 1992, 1997, 2002 and again in 2007 [election years], a lot of parents have found it convenient to rent houses for their children in Molo town where they feel it is safer. We try to draw such children into our centre so they can spend their days here instead of on the streets.”

Building families

''At one time, following a heavy downpour, the boys spent three nights on their feet as their home was flooded and their father just slept in the water''

Besides efforts to rehabilitate street-children, the centre also provides lunch to those living on their own and was involved in re-uniting children who lost contact with their parents during the post-election violence.

“We believe a child is best kept in a home set-up; we try to put those with nowhere to go or with parents who are [incapacitated] with other relatives so they only have to come to the centre during the day,” Njoroge said.

According to Abdi Sheikh Yusuf, the Rift Valley provincial children’s officer, up to 700 unaccompanied minors were registered after the post-election violence – 500 from Molo area.

“Because of Molo’s history of high volatility, parents put their children in rented premises during times of tension but later reclaim them when things calm down; currently there are up to 200 such children in Molo,” he said.

“Our aim is to give an education to each child in a bid to get them out of the cycle of poverty,” Donnan said. “The little we are doing will go a long way in reducing the number of children on our streets.”

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7 Responses to “Off the Streets in Molo and into School”

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After reading this feel-good story, I had only one thought: African hardship inspires yet another foreigner to find her calling. I applaud Ms. Donnan, but this kind of charity only perpetuates itself, and Donnan may soon discover that–as in Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai and elsewhere–the problem of street children will be with us for the rest of time.

First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

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#1 Top Search Engine – Google

Belmont Chapel Team Molo is currently Take off -28 hours and counting before we leave. We have all been practicing to be calm in order to visit Molo. But i have decided it is now time to be British and panic. Just found I am missing a printer leed and I have 14 Kg of kit to bring under a 20 Kg baggage allowance. Any way At 61 years 3onths old I have allowed myself to feel very excited visiting Africa for the second time.

i thank God there is hope for those children may God give you strength to cope with the challenge.its not in vain. am a molo resident,living in the us. Please give the location of the centre

We visited MCP ( Molo Children project) Helped with building work and ran a holiday club. During this we also ran a School photo project and presented 182 children with their own personal photo. In short;- What absolutely lovely kids they were great. Sonia has great team working every day with her, any one would give their right arm to have any of them working for them. In response to previous bloggers, Yes we will always have street children. But in this small corner of the world some one is making a positive difference quite aware that she can not do everything. Chirs and Sonia Donnan, A credit to International Teams and an inspiration to all of us soft Brits

Hi GOD bless you for the good work.am still missing all faces of those children i use to see every day for five years.teaching them;washing them,feeding,dressing,taking them to Hospital,and school.I MISS YOU CHILDREN GOD BLESS.AM still in AMERICA praying you.you are there and would like to save a child join this project and life will be saved.this area have alot of needy children becouse many parent were killed over tribal crushes since 1992 the,i left this area on 2008.thousands of children needs your help.thanks to all staffs who are comited to help this children.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version


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