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Most poor non-natives living on streets, survey shows

By Linah Benyawa | April 13th 2016
Street families. Photo/Elvis Ogina

Most homeless people living on the streets in Mombasa are poor non-natives who have some formal education, a research has shown.

Researchers from Pwani University in Kilifi say about 10 per cent engage in prostitution for a living while the rest hawk and beg.

The research report released yesterday revealed that there are close to 10,000 street families within Mombasa County with family conflict, physical abuse and parental neglect being cited as main causes pushing urchins onto the streets.

According to a survey done by researchers from Pwani University last year, 73 per cent of the street families are from Christian backgrounds while the remaining 27 per cent are said to have come from the Muslim community.

The study was done in areas where the homeless congregate or live in Mombasa such as Mwembe Tayari, Ganjoni, Kibarani, Makadara, Tononoka, Railways and Marikiti.

According to the report, 93 per cent of the respondents said they had attended school at some point.

One of the researchers, Stanley Wanjala, noted that 6.1 per cent of the respondents had completed secondary school while 50 per cent had not.

Main challenge

Accessing birth certificates and identification cards has been a challenge for them as they claim to have been shunned by government departments while some don't have the required documents to enable them start the process of acquiring official papers.

The survey also disclosed that county askaris were the most feared by street families because they harass and arrest them for no reason.

"Of those living on the streets, 41.2 per cent of them had children and were living with their children on the streets while the remaining percentage had no children," the study shows.

The survey also showed that 77 per cent of the respondents were willing to go back to school if given the opportunity while the remaining percentage said they were not, citing old age and parental responsibilities.

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