A street family takes refuge in an ally in Nairobi. More and more families are now calling the streets of Kenya's capital home

It is evident that there is an increase in the number of street families in Kenya especially in Nairobi. Kenya’s capital which is East Africa’s wealthiest city continues to grapple with inability to manage street families which is a negative indicator of the country’s socio-economic progress.

The large number of Kenyans on the street is attributable to cases of child abuse, a high number of orphans in the country, homelessness and drug abuse.

According to statistics most of the people living in the streets are mostly young adults and children between the age of 6 to 19 who are forced to shift from street to street due to police patrols and rivalry between street gangs which is unsuitable for young children.

Street families face a lot of hardships while living on streets as they stand a high risk of being exposed to chronic diseases due to the biting cold at night or during rainy seasons.

The situation gets worse for female street children who are sexually harassed by their male counterparts and more often than not have ended up being teenage mothers.

A spot check by Business Today showed that the situation is fast becoming a time bomb and needs to be arrested sooner rather than later.

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“I gave birth on the streets. It is not easy to raise a child in the cold but I have little option because life has to move on but I remain hopeful for a better tomorrow,” one of the teenagers told this publication.

{Read: Change of fortunes: A boy’s rise from the streets to Supreme Court}

The spot check also confirmed that Kenya is still struggling with drug abuse, a perennial problem which the country never seems to have answers to.

“I ended up on the streets after running away from home. At home, I had reached breaking point after my step dad developed an insatiable appetite for roughing my siblings and I,” said another street urchin “We decided enough is enough and took refuge in street life. At the moment drug usage is our only consolation,”

Life on streets become harder as days pass. Life is not kind to the homeless who are forced to toughen up and most at times resort to crime as a means to an end.

Associations formed to help street children and provide them with basic necessities such as food, shelter and rehabilitation services have been formed so many times,but do not end up being active each time,funds allocated to these projects are often looted and are hardly used for the intended purposes.

{See also: Children champion haunted by sex scandals}

Measures have to be put and centres made in order to shelter or take this street families to rehabilitation centres while rape victims are also lined up for counselling.

The County Government of Nairobi has made concerted efforts to ensure that it reduces the number of street families currently living in its streets.

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About the Author

Linnah Taliah is a journalism student at St Paul's University. She is on attachment at Business Today.

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