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Thika Residents Share Valentine's With Street Kids

As the rest of Kenyans painted the streets red on Sunday displaying red roses, flower bouquets, chocolates and teddy bears for their lovers, a group of Thika residents decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a difference.   

Traditionally, Valentine is a day to celebrate romantic love but this year, Ofafa residents saw it as an opportunity to celebrate all love. While the rest of you were hating on V-Day and secretly seething about all of those couples around you, they took to themselves to show love to the street kids. They shared food and drinks with our street siblings who would have in any other day passed unnoticed or ridiculed. They also gave them branded T-Shirts bearing the Valentine’s Message of love.

This whole idea was the brainchild of one Ms. Cate Kiongo, a resident of Ofafa Estate, who thought of a way to give back to the society. After much soul searching, Cate decided to implement her idea via street children who she argued had nothing much to celebrate. She settled on Valentine’s Day due to its significance.

She sold her idea to a few of her neighbours after which she started mobilising for assistance from friends and relatives who included those from the diaspora and drew the programme and the budget for the same.

To ensure its smooth success, she employed the services of ‘The Wonderful Bar Members’ (Ofafa), several business people with roots in ofafa Estate, Thika Red Cross Branch, ACTION for Children In Conflict and the Welfare Department of Thika Sub-County, Kiambu County.

So, as the rest of the world, celebrated Valentine’s Day at entertainment spots, going for candle lit dinners, buying and sending gifts for (to) their loved ones, while others choosing to celebrate the day in church (it was a Sunday), this group of residents headed straight to Mama Ngina Gardens next to Mathai Supermarket and shared the valentines goodies and love with the less fortunate in our society.

They interacted with these children and discovered so much about them. For instance, they realised that the street kids were humans just like them and they too had needs like any other. Some of them said that they were willing to leave the streets if at all they got assisted into getting themselves a means to earn a decent living. There were those of school going age who expressed willingness to resume learning.

Among their greatest challenge was their inability to acquire relevant national documents such as birth certificates and ID Cards. This was due to the fact that majority of them failed to meet the conditions set by the government for one to get them. They appealed to the authorities to assist them acquire these documents so that they could benefit for other vital services and privileges.

Thika Sub-County Welfare Officer Mr. George Wanyoike promised to liase with his seniors in order to develop a working formula to ensure these kids got those documents.

Mr. Joseph Karanja from the Red Cross also promised to work with the area administrator to see into it that all those who had already attained the age of 18 years among them got the ID Cards. He asked them to avail themselves at the Thika Red Cross grounds today (Monday) for further follow up on the same.

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