Street Children – Meals for Kids
Jesus replied,”Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head”. Matthew 8:20
Starting in May 2015, Homes of Promise has been providing meals for street children three times a week in a slum area of Kampala. More recently we are providing this through collaborating with other organisations feeding the street children. Up to 100 children, mainly boys, are fed at each sitting with rice and vegetables, and meat is also served on special occasions. No food is ever wasted. Left-overs are given to the waiting children and other hungry mouths from the slums. Homes of Promise also works with other organisations who are helping street children.
When the boys arrive they are provided with soap and water to wash themselves and clean their clothes. Washed clothes are draped over fencing and on the grass to dry in the midday sun and we also buy clothing from the local market to give to any boy who is in desperate need. As part of our concern for the boys’ well-being, we will treat any minor cuts and grazes and take boys with more serious medical conditions to clinics or local hospitals.
There is usually a good and happy atmosphere with the boys enjoying lots of fun! They feel safe with us — safe enough to sleep peacefully – which is something they are rarely able to do on the streets. In some cases, the trauma of homelessness has resulted in boys sniffing jet fuel to try to escape the hopelessness of their situation. Special time for prayer is set aside, when we pray both as a group and with individual boys, and we often have Christian visitors who come and share their faith with us.
It costs just over £1.00 a week to feed a youngster and for around £10, two children can be fed for a month!
Some pictures at the Street Boys Project
In April 2016 we opened George’s Place, based in Kampala, where our work with street children is located. Our main objective is to rescue children in need from the poverty of living on the streets and to reconcile them with their families or other relatives. We also find foster parents for orphans or those unable to safely return home and ensure that their physiological, psychological and spiritual needs are all being met. The transitional accommodation is for up to15 street boys, supporting them back into full time education or vocational training and offering life skills.
We began with just eight boys and the last month has seen many challenges as boys settle into ‘home’ life. Some have faced added problems withdrawing from drug and solvent abuse. The home has a happy atmosphere the boys play football or volley ball, take exercise and start with a few basic lessons in English, Maths and Science. They dance to cultural music, play games, watch television, are given bible teaching and encouraged to pray. They also have huge appetites – eating mounds of posho, matoke, rice, peanut sauce, mukene (small fishes) with meat and tilapia at weekends!
The boys sleep in dormitories with bunk beds and are given clothes and a metal box to keep their belongings in with a padlock and key. They are encouraged to wash themselves and their clothes daily, attend church on Sundays and go to the beach on Lake Victoria or the swimming pool on Saturdays.
These are still early days, as we learn to work together as a team and appreciate gifts and talents. We have started counselling the boys and looking for relatives in the hope of bringing about reconciliation. There is plenty of laughter, but also tears and frustration, but in all of this we are aware of God’s grace and healing.
In both our work at George’s Place and Meals for kids our main aim for the boys living on the streets is to reconcile them with their families, where possible to find foster parents if necessary, and to ensure that their basic physiological, psychological and spiritual needs are all being met.
Eddie was carried by two other boys to Meals for Kids, one by the arms, one by the legs. Eddie was filthy, smelly and semi-conscious, he couldn’t sit up and didn’t have the strength to eat – all he could do was just lie there. The boys then carried him to my car and we laid him on the back seat – the smell was appalling.
We arrived at the hospital and carried him in, he was laid on a bench waiting to be seen. A nurse came with rubber gloves, apron and wellington boots to clean him, whilst I went off and bought clean clothes. He was then left for hours before being seen, I suspected this was because he was a street boy and I felt very angry. Eventually he was seen and tested for typhoid and malaria. They confirmed he had both, he was put on 12 hourly drips for next three days. Eddie said ‘you saved my life, I thought I was going to die’.
We regularly see him and it’s always a joy to see his smiling face – and he appreciates all Homes of Promise do for him.
Luke 5 v 18-19, 26
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”