Varsity students’ pocket money puts smiles on street children
By Stephen Mburu
| December 6th 2018
After joining college in 2015, Wallace Ambaka thought of how he would touch the lives of street children as a way of giving back to the society since he had passed through the same life growing up.
His philanthropic bud manifested in a simple and pocket friendly initiative that most of his friends in campus could afford. His idea was visiting street children at Muliro Garden every Friday afternoon and providing them with bread, a cause he dubbed ‘Bread4Street’.
“Making a street child understand that the world is not against them, but for them is what makes me feel at ease. I had been in the streets of Kakamega for nine years and this made me view the world differently. These street children need love and not hate,” says 21-year-old Ambaka.
Bread4Street features students from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology who come together to show love to the street children and encourage them to join children homes or rehabilitation centres where necessary.
“The initiative has at now touched the lives of over 40 children who have joined various rehabilitation centres and children homes. Most of these children pull each other to the street because of the money they are given by well-wishers and we are advising those who wish to help to instead buy them food, clothes or offer alternative help other than money. They use the money to buy sniffing glue and other drugs,” explains Ambaka who studies Business Commerce.
As they check on the children's welfare, they are also finalizing a project to start teaching them how to read and write at the Kenya National Library, Kakamega, to whet their appetite to seek an education.
These university students set aside time to mentor and counsel these children during weekly sessions, with a motive of aiding them live on the positive side of life.
“This move has seen many of the street children who had run away from home go back and accepted by their families after we spoke, especially to the parents. Most of them are pulled by their friends to the streets with the aim of begging money from passers-by. These types of street children do not take time before feeling the need of going back to their homes after counseling,” he adds.
It has not been a rosy project all through for Ambaka though, who only had his pocket money at the start. It has taken good rapport with fellow students to make the weekly visits sustainable.
“I use my photography skills to get funds for the initiative and also invite fellow students to join me where they are required to carry a loaf of bread while I buy the sodas. We also collect clothes from students that we donate to the street children. I would like to open a children’s home later in life to brighten the future of innocent children who have found themselves on the streets because of unavoidable circumstances,” he says.
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