KENYA: From Street Child to Business School Graduate, a “Bosco Boy” Success Story
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run Bosco Boys program in Kenya is giving youth a reason to hope and a path out of poverty. Patrick Ngugi Gichuhi is a graduate of Bosco Boys who, through the program, went from living on the streets to graduating with a degree in international business administration specializing in finance. The Bosco Boys program gave him a second chance in life.
After his mother left because his father was in and out of prison for selling drugs, Gichuhi and his younger siblings were left alone in Kiganjo. His father had brought them to Kiganjo to stay with relatives but instead abandoned them, leaving Gichuhi with the responsibility of taking care of his younger brothers and finding their relatives.
“I finally found people who could look after us but to my surprise they weren’t at all accepting of us,” explains Gichuhi. “There was a lot of mistreatment from my relatives. They didn’t take us in as their own and instead saw us as a burden. So my younger brother and I ran away from Nyeri and arrived in Karatina and from there, after a few days, we reached Nairobi. There we were street kids.”
“We decided to hustle, find food through begging and always slept on the street. That lasted two years,” adds Gichuhi. “We got arrested and were charged for being unlicensed parking attendants and were sent to a child reception center at Kabete. A year later, the public prosecutor saw that nobody was coming to claim us and asked me what I wanted to do. I had heard some boys in the remand center talking of a place called Don Bosco where children could go to school, get nice food and clothes, and without hesitation I said I wanted to be taken to Don Bosco.”
Gichuhi was accepted into the Salesian-run school at Kariua, Nairobi, one of the Bosco Boys program locations. There he began his studies and became part of the first group at the Salesian school that then went on to senior classes in the public school. He completed all of his education and then went on to finish an international business administration degree specializing in finance.
In Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, most of the 3 million residents endure lives of extreme poverty. Poverty is far worse for those who have low levels of education and live in urban areas. Many of Nairobi’s residents live in the slums that crowd the city where poverty is commonplace and basic health care and education is lacking.
Few youth residing in the Nairobi slums attend the later stages of school when compared to those living in Kenya’s more rural areas. The few schools serving this disadvantaged community are beyond the financial means of most families. UNICEF noted that while Kenya has free and compulsory education, youth in poverty still cannot afford to attend school with nine out of 10 children from poor households failing to complete their basic education.
The Bosco Boys program helps former street children of Nairobi. Today, the program provides education for more than 600 boys and girls in primary and secondary schools and universities. Technical skills training is also offered. In addition, the program offers two nursery schools in the slums of Kariua and Kuwinda.
Those who complete their primary education are assisted with secondary education or are advised to choose technical training in the sister institutions. The secondary education is provided at Don Bosco Technical Secondary School, Embu, or any other school close to a student’s home where they can be easily monitored.
In addition to the education provided, youth in the program are given professional counseling to help them overcome the difficulties they face in their lives. The program gives youth the tools to develop a positive healthy outlook on life and the education and training necessary to find stable employment.
“I am sincerely grateful to the Salesians of Don Bosco for their effort and determination in assisting young people like me to transform our lives,” adds Gichuhi.
ANS – “Bosco Boys” Project
Salesians of Don Bosco Province of Eastern Africa– Website
UNICEF – Kenya Statistics