D.A.C. 2011: Street Children

About three and a half decades ago in Soweto, South Africa thousands of African (black) school children marched to protest the poor quality of the education in their schools. And in that attempt to ask for their right and equal opportunities the security forces opened fire and hundreds of young students were shot. (Remember Sarafina! the film). The protests that followed that brutality, saw hundreds of people killed and thousands injured. The African Union (then the OAU) met in Nigeria in 1990 and initiated the International Day of the African Child (DAC) which was first held in June 16, 1991 to honor the memory of those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976.

This year’s commemoration of the DAC is under the Global Theme: All Together for Urgent Actions for Street Children. The Day focuses on the plight of the estimated 30 million “street children” across the continent.

Who are street children?
The street children and families phenomenon is one of the major socio-economic challenges in African countries. Children continue to pour into the streets due to rapid population growth, poverty, rural urban migration, and calamities such as HIV/AIDS and drought.
UNICEF has categorized street children into four clusters:
Children on the street: These children maintain good family ties and often return home in the evening after spending the day on the street begging, working or engaging in petty offences.
Children of the streets: They have loose family contacts, spend some nights or days on the streets and occasionally go back home.
Children in the streets: These groups of children are completely detached from their families, leading a life in makeshift shelters.
Children of street families: Consist of children who are born and bred on the streets.

Their troubles;

Street children lack access to a wide range of rights and basic services including healthcare, shelter, protection, family support and education. These children are at higher risk since they have no one to look out for them. They are consistently abused and treated inhumanely. They are exposed to risks, including HIV/AIDS, exposure to environmental pollution, street accidents, risk of early pregnancy, drug and substance abuse, sexual and economic exploitation. They also lack access to clean water, food and sanitation facilities. Research shows that many have low self-esteem and poor emotional development, often a key factor in their drift to the streets thus increasing their alienation and exclusion from society and families.

In Kenya, the provision of free primary education for all has reduced the number of street children. This was done in the spirit of achieving the Millennium Development Goals and fulfilling the right to education enshrined in the Children’s Act 2001 under safeguards for the rights and welfare of the child. The Kenyan government has also committed itself into implementing international Standards on child protection by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Both the UNCRC and the ACRWC stress the right of all children to development, survival, participation and protection.

Africa Take Care of Your Own!






Mother Africa

Africa why are your crops rootless?

Africa why are the fruits of your loins wandering the streets?

Africa what is your yield of pleasure doing in other people’s granaries?

Africa why are dogs, trenches and people’s doorsteps guarding your harvest?

Africa who taught you to disown your seed?

Africa when did we start throwing blood out?

Our future is out on the streets, preyed by misfortune,

Our fall back plan is in other people’s storage,

Africa how will access it when draught comes?

Why are strangers enjoying your harvest Africa?

Africa why oh why are our children not at home?





we mourn, i mourn


We mourn that a child will no longer see her mother

We mourn that a child will think twice before asking for help

We mourn that a child will no longer share her joys and tears with her mother

We mourn that a mother will not see her little one grow

We mourn that a mother will not continue to provide the love, care and comfort her child is accustomed to

We mourn that a mother will not see her little one walk down the aisle

We mourn that a grandmother will take up parenting again

We mourn that an ailing grandmother will put on her superwoman suit again

We mourn single parenting

We mourn poverty

We mourn failure  

We mourn that a killer disease found its way to our home

We mourn that the stigma robbed us a friend

We mourn that we were not found worthy to share her burden

We mourn that a friend needed help and we didn’t know

We mourn that we were too busy to notice

Today we mourn,


When did I become too busy to notice that a friend was ailing?

When did I become so judgmental that a friend would hide her suffering?

When was I found unworthy of trust?

When was I found too disconnected to care?


Today I mourn ‘friendship’

Today I mourn disconnection

Today I mourn self-absorption

Today I mourn for the knowledge that wasn’t shared

Today I mourn that I was weighed, I was measured and I was  found wanting as a friend


In loving memory of Maggie;  a mother, a child, a friend and a trusted employee


Am sorry i laughed

I bet most of you remember the Bill Cosby show “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”  I will admit it’s not right to make fun of children, but people were taking the program too seriously. It was simple a celebration of the innocence and the beauty of little children. Some reviewers say the program should have been called  “Cosby Says the Most Patronizing Things” because he was making fun of little kids who thought they were having a serious conversation.

Are we no longer allowed to giggle or even laugh out loud when this little ones say amusing things? If  it’s wrong to do so, I apologize for laughing at my nephew…

Nephew : (To Alex) You didn’t swallow.

Alex: What?

Nephew: The potato in your throat (pointing at the adams apple)

Alex: (laughs loudly) You will get one when you grow up.

Nephew: No! I don’t eat potatoes.

Everyone: hahahahahaha! 

The Kidnapper!

Children instinctively love both parents and they feel enormous stress when asked by one parent to choose between them and the other parent.

If you have been in a relationship that didn’t work out and you had put so much into it, you will do and say anything to hurt the other person. Most of it is very petty, but it makes you feel great. (I have been petty and I recommend it if it’s done in moderation). But who does anything in moderation these days? And again how do you measure moderation?

Erica and Sam have been separated for three months now. I know for sure they are both hurting but their kids are unquestionably hurting more. Erica has been using her kids as pawns in their battle. She is a bad parent, and yes, I am judging. I would probably do worse….but I will still point an accusing finger! I am almost certain that if I broke up with my significant other, two things would happen to my kids. Plastic surgery and removal of the compartment in their brain that holds his memory. Don’t judge me; you would do the same… am just brave enough to admit it in public. My friend Erica is a specialist in the PA (parental alienation) field… (and NO! we are not birds of a feather, I am more sensible). She has been influencing her children into thinking that their dad is appalling, wicked and worthless, trying to sabotage their relationship. I think most women parents do it (sabotage); otherwise how do we explain the unwavering love children have for their mothers. Surely it can’t all lie in the nine months bonding.

What Erica doesn’t know about being a parent alienator is obviously in a future Bad Parenting magazine. Chris their 7 year old can narrate his father’s vices his eyes closed (not that you need your eyes to narrate). Poor Sam. His faults are constantly highlighted and his virtues forever under the knife for comparison with fathers who do better than him. She is currently thinking of moving cities so she can limit the contact between her children and their father. Did I mention she doesn’t pick his calls when he wants to talk to his kids? And when she answers the calls, she is always away from the kids (she is a busy woman). As if that is not enough emotional abuse for her children, she punishes them by withdrawing affection after they have had a good time with their dad. Woe to them if she sees a smile on their faces when their dad comes to pick them.

I hope the children’s department takes her children from her and all of you using your kids as pawns in your childish battles.

Who subjects their kids to this sort of emotional abuse and still claim love. It is not uncommon for separated parents to feel rage towards the other parent and to express that anger in front of the children. However, it is highly improper for parents to put children in that position. If you need validation for the way you feel towards your ex you should talk to a therapist about it – not to the children. Unless contact with one parent is going to be unsafe, children should be allowed to spend time with both parents regularly.