The streets of many developing countries and their big cities harbor abandoned children. Here in Kisumu Kenya, whilst doing a photo assignment for Comic Relief a UK based charity I found myself on the streets of Kisumu at night observing where abandoned children choose to sleep. Huddled together as a safety measure to protect themselves from other gangs or the police, their temporary favored spot was a disheveled building ironically situated next to a bookshop for school children.
Some had been orphaned and others either ran away from an abusive home life or were kicked out to survive on the street. The children responded to a ‘boss’ or leader, usually a dominant older boy who’d mastered the street life for a few more years. By day, the children collected rubbish around the city destined for a recycling market where they got a few shillings depending on weight. Their earnings may have afforded them a small meal for the day.
Comic Relief supports Hope For Victoria Children HOVIC. The charity aims to improve the quality of life of street children and those in the hidden sector whose rights have been rampantly abused.
Many street children in Kisumu can get a meal and are offered an informal education at the centre. HOVIC also temporarily homes abandoned children whilst trying to re establish a connection with existing families of the child.