Street visits that demonstrate the best interest of the child’s principle

Streets should never be anyone’s home and especially children. Kitengela Place of Safety
(KPOS) has been the home and a transition point for many vulnerable rescued streets-
connected children. It continues to serve them. 12-year-old Frank Maangi is one of them. He
is deemed to need care and protection as espoused in the Children’s Act.
As it turns out, street life, despite all its harshness and hostility, besides harassment from
suspicious public members, seemed better than home. In a way that may be difficult to
explain, it shielded Maangi from the wrath of an alcoholic mother who frequently failed to
provide them with food, education, clothing, and reliable shelter since the Kiambiu slums
were their known abode. Maangi’s mother was constantly angry and would lock him and his
two siblings in the house with no food for days, either out of frustration or emotional distress,
like any mother willing to give the best to their child.
Life was unbearable for Maangi, and he would desperately leave home in February 2022 for
the streets of Buruburu estate on the outskirts of Nairobi city to find food. It turned out that
many more children were out on the streets, and quickly Maangi found a new family that
oriented him into street life, including the use of substances and abuse of drugs. Come April
2022, he was rescued from the streets by the Undugu of Kenya staff during one of the
periodic street visits. Looking at his life now, Maangi appreciates the chance of being housed
at Kitengela Place of Safety. He acknowledges street life is cruel and hostile and wishes no
other child be relegated there.
Reconnecting Maangi with his mother and siblings has been a cropper. It has been
challenging to trace them. She is said to have relocated from Nairobi. Neighbors, while
lauding the rescue and rehabilitation process that the Undugu Society of Kenya had taken
up, point out the timeliness of this action since Maangi and his siblings needed help, as the
family was impoverished. Assistance to Maangi has included treatment for a medical
condition he developed while living on the streets. This is in addition to material support,
including a place to stay during school holidays, having secured a school-based partial
scholarship in 2023 through networks and partnerships to join Metameta Academy, Isinya,
which caters to his school fees.
The interventions of the Undugu Society of Kenya and the scholarship support from
Metameta Academy inspire hope and confidence for Maangi. It is evident that kindness,
tenderness, and love, however remote, have changed his life, partially demonstrated by his
beginning of school learning in March this year and his continued stay at the Kitengela Place of Safety.


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