Can you imagine being a kid with no dreams for the future?
Last weekend, as I watched my little nephews pretend they were basketball stars during the final NBA playoff game, I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of hopeless street children I met in Kitale, Kenya.
Most of these kids call a slum their home. Wandering the streets, rifling through garbage for food and sniffing glue fill their days; while roofless shelters and dirt floors consume their nights. Many are directly impacted by HIV/AIDS and are unable to obtain an education because their predominately unemployed parents cannot afford their school fees.
As a result, dreams of becoming the next sports star – or doctor or teacher – are overshadowed by the harsh realities of poverty and its associated dangers.
That’s why Cross Catholic Outreach’s partnership with St. John Bosco Rehabilitation Centre is so important. Cross Catholic helps the center rescue children from the streets and provides them with the food, shelter and education they need to survive and thrive. Spiritual formation classes, athletic teams and other recreational activities help give these poor children a sense of worth and hope that encourages them to dare to dream.
One boy in particular has been on my mind. His name is Emmanuel and this is his story:
Before I went to St. John Bosco, I was a street boy. At that time, I wasn’t sleeping in a bed. I was sleeping in a sack on the street. Then a social worker approached me. She brought me to St. John Bosco and then I had a bed. I also have friends. I get along with others and I am no longer fighting. Also, I never used to have breakfast, but at the center, I always have breakfast.
Today I am 12 years old. I am in school. I am class president and now I want to be a judge so I can help other street boys who are still in town.
St. John Bosco helped me get to the place where I am now. Other kids are suffering so much. I want to help them get to school and hope for a better future.