Roar to you all from sunny Sudan. We had some time off from cycling and heard about a local street child project in Khartoum. Although, not affiliated to our partner charities, we decided to run down and check it out with our own paws. (once Dino had finished eating, of course. Boy does he like to eat on a rest day!).
The project, financed by the church in Khartoum, supports centres in Khartoum, Omdurman, South Sudan and Darfur. The centre we visited works with 14-17 yr old boys. At the moment they host 31 boys here. In total the 4 projects are helping 131 children to a better and safer life.
The centre is formed of 2 huge tools holding the bunk beds for the boys, 3 rooms that double as classrooms/TV rooms, a kitchen, washroom and round the back is a selection of workshops for the boys to learn carpentry, car maintenance and farming.
The centre is run by James with the support of several teachers and counsellors such as Aida.
James told us,”we go to the streets and encourage the boys to come and visit the centre. Often when they visit it brings back horrible memories of their past. Some of the boys had parents who died in recent wars. When their mums remarried, their stepfathers often treated the boys badly. The centre looks like a home to them and it reminds them of their past. It often takes us 3 or 4 attempts to get them to stay. Sometimes they disappear onto the streets for a few weeks but often they come back and appreciate the help they get here”.
The boys were great fun. They had mobiles and were enjoying listening to new Sudanese music. Dino couldn’t stop tapping his tail to the beat which made the boys laugh.
The centre has teachers like Aida who help the children learn.
There is an Islamic teacher to help the non-christian children keep learning about their faith. The children also enjoy the carpentry, car repair work.
8 of the children are studying at University with one graduating as an airspace engineer! Helping the children off a life dependent on the street.
One of the boys told us that “the centre has given me a life!”
This made Lion cry as we believe that all children deserve to be protected, learn and laugh.
The centre tries to reintroduce the boys back to their family too. After a month, teacher goes to their home with the child to have a cup of tea and talk about the issues. They then go back for
one day. Some refuse to go due to the bad things that have happened to them.
We loved our time at the centre and we say a big ROAR to all the boys – you rock!
For more information about the project contact James on firstname.lastname@example.org
We are now even more excited about visiting the street children projects supported by our charity partners: Street Action, Retrak, Street Child Africa, Railway Children and AMREF. Big roars!