Tumshangilie Mtoto Marks a Milestone
Marking its 20th Anniversary, the centre for rehabilitated streets children moves from Kibagare slums to Loresho as it comes of age. BRIAN MUREITHI reports
Pomp, colour, song and dance characterised the Tumshangilie mtoto (Rejoice for Children) centre in Nairobi as it moved from the congested Kibarage slums in Kangemi to the upmarket Loresho suburb as it marked its 20th anniversary.
The foundation is supported by local and international charity groups from Germany, USA, Italy and other countries.
'Tumshangalie Mtoto' is an institution dedicated to assisting and reforming street children who are often abused and condemned by the society as they roam about in the streets living in squalor with no access to education, support or a sense of belonging.
In July 1994, 15 street children who had been coached by award winning Kenyan actress Anne Wanjugu, performed for the first time before a full capacity audience of United Nations officials at the Kenya National Theatre. The performance was so electrifying that they received a standing ovation. This was the name Tumshangilieni (rejoice in Kiswahili) was coined and it became the title of the foundation.
Since then, has shown the transforming power of care and realised the Objectives and Rights of the Child by offering nearly 300 former street children a secure home, counselling, health care, education and outreach programmes.
It is still immersed in the performing arts which has been a powerful tool to address the vulnerabilities of street children. Through creative public performances, the children have charmed audiences throughout Kenya and as far afield as Zimbabwe, Germany, Bangkok, Italy, Greece and the USA with their talents and raised awareness about the predicament of those still living on the streets.
instructors follow the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education curriculum on location from baby class through Class VIII. Some of its charges attend secondary schools. Nine are presently in universities (20 have graduated from colleges and universities), 22 are in vocational training and 10 in the Outreach programmes that provides poor children who reside with their guardians in the slums with schools fees, uniforms and books, and others with vocational skills training.
According to the school’s director, Mr Japheth Njenga, the foundation has progressively grown over the years and its commitment to expand and transform the lives of more street children remains its long term endeavour. Its shift from the slums to a better environment in the upmarket Loresho neighbourhood is seen as a major achievement for the centre