KCC Children’s Shelter
UNICEF estimates that there are currently around 3,000 children living on the streets in Dar es Salaam. Most of them are coming from other cities or villages originally and come to Dar es Salaam in hope to find a better life in the big city. But the reality is different and many of them are facing a lot of challenges and difficulties.
There is a small number of organizations able to offer beds to a small percentage of these children somewhere safe to stay, but there is no service provision for the vast majority of them.
Kigamboni Community Centre (KCC) has been offering services and support to all children and youth in Kigamboni since 2007. Since 2014 KCC is running the Homeless Shelter for children who were living on the streets.
The Homeless Shelter Project provides secure accommodation, care, clothing and professional social support to children (maximum of 12 children at the same time) who would otherwise be living on the street. The vast majority of children living on the streets are not orphans. Part of the social support involves tracking the children’s family members and offering support to the child and the family, with the primary aim of the project being to relocate and reintegrate children back into their families wherever possible. Where this is not possible, KCC finds alternative opportunities for the children, such as boarding school places, foster families in Kigamboni, work placements etc., depending on the child’s particular situation and interests.
We finally started the projectin August 2014 as we found a nice house to rent and 12 boys moved into the Shelter together with a carer, a KCC volunteer, who is living with them.
As family tracking takes time, whilst this is going on, the children are fully integrated into the activities and the community at KCC, where they re-discover what it means to be loved and cared for, to feel safe and secure, and to have opportunities to learn and play with other children, without suffering the stigma or labels that inevitably come when you live on the streets.
The shelter is set up initially in rented accommodation near the Kigamboni Community Centre. But KCC is currently developing a 3 acre site 15kms from its current centre. The new site will host a new community centre and other facilities, including a new children’s shelter. Once this site is developed, the Children’s Shelter will relocate to this new site.
- To provide temporary accommodation, professional social support and counselling, love and access to healthcare for children currently living on the streets in Dar es Salaam
- To include the children in the education and activity programmes at Kigamboni Community Centre and to give them an opportunity to be a part of the local community whilst they are staying at the shelter
- To locate the children’s parents/guardians with primary aim of re-integrating the children back into their families wherever possible.
- Where this is not possible, to find alternative solutions, such as integrating them with host families within the community or finding places in boarding schools, depending on the specific situation and needs of the individual child.
This project has been informed by KCC’s work in this area since 2007, by direct advice from the Tanzanian Government’s Department of Social and Health Welfare and UNICEF, by best practices learned from other projects working in this area, both inside and outside Tanzania, and by the knowledge and experience of the KCC Directors, some of whom spent time living on the streets themselves as children.
There are 3 particularly important elements to our approach:
- Inclusion and integration in the community and family life
- Children get to experience the rules and structure as well as love, care and happiness which come from family life
- Education and access to talent development activities to help them build their knowledge and skills but also their self-belief and confidence
The nature of this kind of work is resource intensive. KCC is still struggling to finance the Shelter, at the moment the capital costs of this project are covered by donations. The rent for the house and other running costs are paid by KCC through the monthly income from the business. Also KCC is receiving food or cloth donation from time to time which is helping a lot to secure the project. In the future, KCC hopes to develop the business to have more financial resources as well as finding monthly sponsors to cover the running costs for the Shelter.
One big aim of KCC is to be able to give salaries for the carer, a social worker and KCC Social Director (part time) as they are now working as volunteers.
Opportunities to support:
KCC is always grateful for any kind of donation whether it is food, clothing & shoes, school uniforms, furniture, towels & linen, kitchenware, cleaning equipment etc. as well as supporting the Shelter financially .
We are very happy to find monthly sponsors to support the Shelter as it would help a lot to support the kids.
Monthly costs include: food & drinking water, electricity, water, replacements of furniture or clothes, sanitary products, travel costs (for relocation into the children´s families), salaries for the carer, a social worker and KCC Social Director (part time), etc.
If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.