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Living the promise

The Street Children Of Nairobi

Nairobi’s street children are easily recognised with their trademark sacks slung over their backs, searching through dustbins.  In order to survive on the streets, young people often beg, carry luggage, or clean business premises and vehicles. Others earn some money by collecting waste paper, bottles, and metals for recycling.

The children sometimes assist the city council cleaners in sweeping and collecting garbage. Eddy Omondy, a 15-year-old orphan who has been living in the streets for four years, told IRIN that he used to collect garbage, and help load and unload market goods, earning him up to 80 KSH (US $1) a day. Some earn their money in less honest ways, pick-pocketing or violent robbery. Girls are forced to resort to prostitution in order to get clothes or food. According to a 2004 report from The Cradle and The Undugu Society, they earn as little as 10 or 20 KSH ($0.30-0.50) for each client.