Children are one of the most treasured possessions on earth. Kenya joins the world in marking Universal Children’s Day on the 20th November.
This is a day aimed at creating awareness on children rights and preventing their exploitation.
Research indicates that about 80% of children living in Child Care Institutions (CCI) are not orphans but have been placed there due to other reasons such as poverty, neglect or domestic violence. Grace Mwangi , Country Manager at Give a Child a Family states that such factors push factors that distance a child from its family thus ending up at CCI’s or the streets.
Koinonia Community is one such institution that looks to rescue and rehabilitate vulnerable and street children and ultimately ensuring that they are reintegrated back to their families as a family is the best place a child should grow up in.
Koinonia Community has organized a three day children conference as a build up activity towards Universal Children’s Day. During the three days they have organized activities in line with this year’s theme ’’It’s a Kids takeover’’.
Hundreds of children, current and former beneficiaries of the institution gathered together to share their experiences of growing up in a CCI and at home. Plenty of times adults get to determine what happens in the lives of children however it’s always wise to get feedback from the children themselves. This conference gave the children an opportunity to open up about the benefits and challenges of living at home and at a CCI. In addition they got to share their preferred recommendations that they would wish to see implemented both at home and at the CCI’s. This way guardian can make informed decisions about children.
The conference was moderated by peer educators who are former beneficiaries of Koinonia Community. They used this opportunity to share their experiences that shaped them to becoming responsible individuals. Additionally the children were taught about their rights and responsibilities as the two go hand in hand.
John Kamau high school student and one of the peer educators believes that through upholding children rights they will be able to get quality education as well as achieve their dreams .