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Sh13 billion for vulnerable groups

 From Left: Finance Secretary Mutua Kilaka, MPS Silvance Osele, Francis Nyenze and Joseph Nkaissery share a light moment at Parliament buildings after the reading of the 2014/15 budget yesterday. [PHOTO: BONFACE OKENDO/STANDARD]

Kenya: The Government has placed a Sh13 billion social safety net to cushion the minority groups and vulnerable people in the society.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich allocated Sh7.2 billion for orphans and vulnerable children, Sh4.9 billion for the elderly, Sh800 million for those with extreme disabilities and Sh300 million for other persons with disabilities.

He also set aside Sh600 million for resettling those displaced by the 2007-2008 post election violence, while street families will be rehabilitated at a cost of Sh300 million. A Unicef report published in 2007, estimated 100 million children are growing up on urban streets around the world.

It was estimated that there were between 250,000 and 300,000 children living and working on the streets across Kenya, with more than 60,000 of them being in Nairobi.

The report showed that 45 per cent of children under five were girls. Boys often survive on collecting garbage, and help load and unload market goods, earning them up to Sh80 ($1) a day, while girls are forced to resort to prostitution to eke a living.

According to a 2004 report from The Cradle and The Undugu Society, they get as little as Sh10 or Sh20 ($0.30-0.50) per client. Unemployment among parents of the street children is quite high, with most children claiming their parents are either deceased or have abandoned them. Abandonment or death of fathers is found to be more common than abandonment or death of mothers.

More often than not, the public blames street children for theft, robbery and other infractions of the law. The number of street families and beggars are on the rise in Nairobi and other urban centre’s in the country.

 “We do not want to see girls missing going to school for lack of sanitary pads,” Rotich said.

Streamlined policies

Meanwhile, children and elderly people’s rights crusaders have hailed the Government for allocating more funds for their beneficiaries, but called for streamlined policies to ensure the funds serve intended purpose.

One More Day for Children (OMDC) Executive Director Hellen Gathogo said the Government should have set aside funds for children’s homes owned by private entities and non-governmental organisations.

Purity Elderly Foundation Executive Director Joyce Wanjiku said despite the increment, the funds are not enough to cater for thousands of elderly people.


 

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