A study of the factors that influence the influx of children on the streets : The case of Buruburu, Kenya
Rombo, Josphine M K
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The study was based on the factors that influence the influx of young children on the streets. The sample population was drawn from Buruburu business and trading centres in Kenya, within the Kamukunji Division of Nairobi.These children would otherwise be at home or in school but have been driven into the streets to eke a living. The findings of this study show that these children come from extremely poor family backgrounds and are exposed to high-risk situations such as illegal adoption, abduction, forced labour and prostitution. Majority of these children have no birth registration documents and therefore, are made invisible and prone to abuse. According to SOS(2005), the presence of these children is an indicator that something in the social fabric has given way. Some of the popular causes of children straying away from home as reported by other researchers have been poverty and lack of basic education. According to GTY/SNV (2000) survey and that by National and international media, the global population of children is on the increase and it is estimated that children would make up the global population in the future. This research is different from other authors who have contributed to the general causes of the phenomena of the street children. Researchers in the past studies concentrated on older children in their adolescence stage and studies of various interventions implemented by rehabilitation institutes in major town and city locations. This research study is based on children who are at the critical age of seven and fourteen years of age. The study targets and focuses on children in the residential areas unlike the past studies. It seeks to find out the factors that influence children to move away from the family safety net and investigates the reasons as to why children enrolment is high in primary schools and the completion rates are low despite the free primary education (FPE) provision by the Kenya government in 2003. The population sample was made up of thirty children who were purposively selected for the research study. This age inclusion was made up on the assumption that students in primary schools join class one between the age of seven and eight years of age and complete class eight at an approximately thirteen to fourteen years of age. The research design followed a survey method of research and qualitative and quantitative design guided the process. The research instruments included questionnaires, interviews, an observation scheduled and digital photography. Secondary data was obtained from organisation audits while images were captured in digital recording to illustrate the observation on the field. The informants were sort through the snow balling technique because they were found by a chance encounter and at times the children were hidden in quieter areas of the streets as explained in the chapter three of the study. The study revealed that, the lack of parent's inability to provide the basic human needs due to lack of employment, redundancy or incapacitated parents triggered the children to drift away to the streets. Where as, the school factors such as school levies or funds. requirements such as school uniform and text books along with other costs incurred by parents like; examinations charges, school lunch, funds for developments projects, educational trips and cost of furniture have contributed to the children's increase on the streets as parents inability to afford. Other contributing factors such as. the child's own initiative to explore the streets among others have been discussed in the findings. Conclusion of the research was determined by the actual results obtained hOIn the research analysis and seen that a combination of factors from both home and school contributed to the child's displacement. The study also drew conclusions from the results of the primary schools head teachers,rehabilitation centres administrators and the community that the way forward was to, involve all the stake holders. The study also concluded that private public partnerships (PPP) and the involvement of the Kenya government is the key to addressing the plight of the children.