We asked Vicky Ferguson, the CEO of this month’s charity partner Glad’s House, to write a guest blog for us explaining why the work her organisation does is so important to the homeless young people of Mombasa;
“I have been working with street children in Mombasa since 2005 – my first experiences were on the streets, interacting with street children in their own space. It will always stay with me the joy they felt that we had come to pay a visit and that we cared enough about them to go to them. Outreach work has always been at the heart of what Glad’s House does – working with children and young people in their space and on their terms. No conditions, no expectations just children and adults building relationships, getting to know one another, laughing, sharing hopes and dreams and beginning to forge a realistic vision for the future.
Vicky with some of the Glad’s House team
If you take a moment to think about your own childhood, play will come into it. The street children Glad’s House support simply cannot play – there is no safe space for them to congregate without fear of persecution or arrest. Street Soccer and Street Education enable street children to play – to laugh and have some fun – something every child should have the right to do. Of course, the programme does so much more than enable street children to laugh but that is the thing that moves me more than anything Glad’s House does – sitting and watching street children of all ages coming together and laughing, playing and just being children without the fears they hold of being a street child. It is such a privilege to be a part of those moments.
These laughs, jokes and sharing of stories is where every street child begins their journey with Glad’s House. From the field in the City Centre of Mombasa there are so many routes children and young people may take with us. Some may be content with daily contact with us whilst they go about their life on the streets, others may be referred to other organisations and many will end up moving into Glad’s House transitional programme. But what is common for all street children that attend Street Soccer and Street Education is that it is the beginning of a journey where they can start to build relationships of trust with adults who are safe and care about them and we believe these relationships are the key foundation for anything that lies ahead as we journey alongside street children.”