STREET KIDS REFUGE IN DAR ES SALAAM FERRY PORT.
We had one week left to run a project, so I took a tuktuk with a friend to a nearby street kids refuge near Dar Es Salaam ferry port, called Songa Mbele Pamoja. Here I was introduced to Geoffrey, who had worked at the refuge since the mid 90s. The refuge was completely inconspicuous and most locals didn’t even know it existed.
It consisted of 4 dorm rooms with bunk beds. The beds had old foam mattresses and no mosquito nets. The only furniture apart from the beds in the whole building was an old football table, where the boys would spend most of their time! They had one meal a day,that they sat on the matt and shared with Solly, Romie, myself and Enrico.
I proposed my ideas to generate awareness about the refuge by painting the front wall with the kids who resided there. They were very excited at this prospect as it would lead to possible funding , but more importantly the “colourful building would get to be known by more street kids as place of retreat and rehabilitation.
The refuge sits on a road with a main bus route, by the time we had finished painting the front wall buses were stopping to read the messages and look at the art work. Passers by stopped to look and had long chats with the kids and employees of the refuge. People approached me asking about the project and I left feeling confident that the refuge is now recognised and will get the funding and attention it deserves.
There are an estimated 437,500 STREET CHILDREN IN TANZANIA ALONE.
Many live on the street because of the violence and abuse they suffered at home. Many more face daily abuse on the streets from the police, sex tourists and even each other.
With more focus in developing countries on preventing violence and abuse at home, and by reaching out to children already on the streets and providing them with the rehabilitation, education and security they so desperately need, the vast number of children living and working on the streets in the world could be significantly reduced.
The number of street kids in Tanzania are rising and there is minimal help for these children. Many are born on the street and have no way out of the life they lead. They cannot go to school so are left to survive through child labour, theft or selling things on the street. Many live on rubbish sites and work with recycling, in awful conditions.
Refuges like Songa Mbele Pamoja are vital in giving street kids a chance in life.