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The challenges


In Kenya, street children are still considered to be illegal and are often discriminated against as though they are breaking the law. They are regularly treated with violence and contempt by state authorities and members of the public. Children are often arrested simply for being on the street and detained in remand before they are brought to the court or released back onto the street. Despite the 2001 Children’s Act treating vagrancy, loitering and truancy by children as an indicator of their need for care and protection, street children found in these situations are routinely exposed to police harassment and detention.

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In certain areas in the country, there are local regulations and by-laws which penalise activities associated with living and spending time on the street. These laws further criminalise street children just for being visible on the street.

Many street children do not have a birth certificate or ID card and without one many face discrimination in their education and future job prospects. They are unable to sit for a secondary school exam or apply for a formal job.

Limited protection of street children

While Kenya has developed policies and enacted laws to protect children, there is a lack of clarity on who is responsible for protecting street children in Nairobi, which has led to street children falling through the cracks of the Kenyan child protection system.

The Government mandated groups responsible for reporting and investigating child abuse cases are often uninformed on child rights and protection. There is also limited knowledge among police and county security forces on child rights and how to work with street children.

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Street children in Kenya face high levels of abuse. Round ups and arrests of children on streets for loitering are common. If a street child is arrested and is unable to prove their age or identity, they are placed in an adult prison cell. This results in them being in conflict with the law, without legal aid.

High levels of family abuse and poverty, pushing many children to the streets

Around 40% of Kenyans live below the poverty line, despite the country seeing strong economic growth in recent years. High levels of family abuse and poverty in the country are pushing many children to the streets of major cities. In Nairobi, an estimated 3,000 children sleep on the streets and over 46,000 families live and work on the streets. The country is also currently experiencing a youth bulge, with around 78% of the population below the age of 35. These young people struggle to secure sustainable employment, and many remain unemployed, putting them at high risk of becoming street connected.

Our work in Kenya

Our work in Kenya


  • Our partner supports unregistered children and young people through the process of getting their birth certificates and identity documentation, which can help protect a child for the rest of their life.


  • One project runs regular youth clubs for street children. Former street children also attend the sessions to act as positive role models for those currently living on the streets.
  • Street children and young people have the opportunity to attend workshops focused on the safety and well-being. During the sessions, the children have the chance to learn core life skills to support them in dealing with difficult situations in their daily lives. At the sessions they also increase their knowledge and understanding of child rights and protection.
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  • Children receive mental health support, to improve their capacity to cope under pressure, without resorting to self-destructive behaviours.
  • Young people are supported to enrol in vocational training courses such as carpentry, mechanics, hairdressing and beauty therapy. Through the courses, young people gain the skills required to earn a sustainable living, away from the streets.
  • individual and youth group counselling and guidance is offered, including support to reduce substance misuse.
  • During regular street outreach sessions, project workers identify children at risk and make referrals to selected short term rehabilitation centres in Nairobi.
  • Many of the children on the streets of Nairobi only have one set of clothes to wear. During street outreach sessions, the project offers clean clothing as well as other essential supplies to support children in their daily lives.
  • Young people are trained in urban farm techniques and supported to grow produce, with the hope that this could become a long-term business for them in the future.


  • Street children and youth are supported with rehabilitation and reintegration with their families/caregivers.
  • Caregivers receive individual counselling to support with the process of family reunification.
  • The project also provides access to financial and livelihood support for vulnerable families living in Nairobi. Parents living in informal settlements are supported to start small businesses, enabling them to provide basic needs to their children and reducing the need to send their children out onto the streets to work.


  • Our work aims to strengthen the child protection system in Nairobi, on behalf of street children. The is done through facilitating meetings for key players within the child protection sector to ensure that the voices and concerns of street children are raised within this forum. The project also delivers training for key child protection related institutions.
  • The team run regular community meetings involving a variety of community stakeholders such as the police to enable them to hear directly from street children and young people and the challenges they face.
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  • Often children in street situations are picked up by the police and kept in custody for days/weeks. Due to lack of information about legal system and legal representation, these children are not released. The project works with different stakeholders to link these children with justice system and secure their timely release.

Our work in Kenya has changed lives


Birth Registration • Kenya • 2023

Telvoh has always spent his days working with his mum on the street. Until recently, he never had an official identity as his mother had lost her ID card, meaning she was unable to register him. Thankfully, they met PKL, who were able to support them through the processes to get Telvoh his birth certificate. Now he officially exists!

Read Telvoh's story


Street Outreach • Kenya • 2023

Moving to Nairobi from his rural village was a big change for Simba. He had to drop out of school and started working every day, collecting scrap to sell. Since meeting PKL, he’s stopped using drugs and stealing, instead looking forward to his future. He wants to go back to school and dreams of becoming a performing artist.

Read Simba's story

Mark & Galaxy

Birth Registration • Kenya • 2022

Mark and Galaxy are brothers living in Nairobi. Lack of money at home pushed them onto the street and a lack of birth certificates made it hard for them to find work to survive. This was when they met PKL, Toybox’s partner in Kenya, who helped them both get their official identities – opening the door to possibilities in the future.

Read Mark & Galaxy's story


Vocational Training • Kenya • 2022

When she was barely eight years old, Zera moved to Nairobi. There, she found herself on the streets, begging to earn money for survival. Just after her daughter was born, she met PKL who supported her to start her own business. Now, her daughter is in school and Zera has a steady income to support them.

Read Zera's story


Vocational Training • Kenya • 2022

As a young person living on Nairobi’s streets, Adamu is used to harassment and mistreatment from the public. He has always done what he had to to survive, but after meeting our partner in Kenya, he’s started his own courier business. Now he’s proud to be self-employed and hopes he can inspire other children to leave the streets behind.

Read Adamu's story