Kenya is not a large country yet there are currently over 2.3 million orphaned children. Without significant intervention, an estimated 15% of children under the age 15 are expected to be orphaned by 2015, and 30% will have lost their mothers, fathers, or both parents.
In the past, orphaned children in Africa were largely “taken in” by the extended family. In recent years, however, this has changed. The AIDS epidemic has decimated entire families, the socio-economic decline has led to the breakup of the traditional African family, and the high unemployment rate leads to survival prostitution and abandonment of the resulting children. Over 50% of the children orphaned in Kenya are a result of HIV/AIDS; either from their parent(s) dying from it, or abandonment as a result of having it. Children Affected by AIDS (CABA) have four (4) basic needs: Good nutrition, love, psychosocial support and adequate medical care.
A large proportion of deprived children have acquired psychopathological behaviour, increasingly becoming involved in crime, drug abuse and violence. Many too, are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and yet enter the labour market at very young ages leading to exploitation, all of which seriously affects their growth and well-being. Children under this category experience extreme poverty, which is compounded by household, community and national poverty.
The magnitude and complexity of the problem of child poverty in Kenya is large and growing, and cannot be ignored when designing national development and poverty reduction strategies. Unfortunately, children and young people continue to be marginalized and left out in spite of interventions, especially where assumptions are made that interventions that address adult and household needs are also good for all children, including boys and girls of school-going and non school-going ages. This partly explains why child poverty is underrepresented in most studies.
UMaY Orphan Project
The purpose of this project is to alleviate the suffering of the orphans and vulnerable children, build their capacity through giving them love, care, education, life skills, health and simple developmental activities to do so that they become productive in the society.
UMaY is currently in the process of acquiring land and establishig a rehabilitation centre for children: a home, primary school and overall positive and supportive environment.