Bella Ciao Safe House & Drop-In Centre
The Bella Ciao Safe House and Drop-In Centre was established to bring hope and protection to vulnerable children living in the Kawangware Slums.
The Kawangware Slum is home to more than 130,000 people, where residents live under the grip of extreme poverty that makes life a constant struggle to survive. For children and youth, the situation is particularly dire, and many of them turn to ‘street work’ as a way of escaping life at home. Girls are often forced into the sex trade, and many boys join gangs to get the sense of belonging they lack at home. These children quickly learn that life on the streets is violent and unsafe, yet with few other choices, their decisions lead them directly into the cycle of poverty.
In 2014, we partnered with the Real Hope Community Foundation (RHCF, formerly known as RHYCO), a local child welfare organization, to open a drop-in centre that gives children a safe place away from the dangers of the street and the abuses of home life. When Kawangware saw a sharp rise in domestic abuse during COVID-19 lockdowns, RHCF moved to a bigger compound to establish a safe house in addition to the drop-in centre for children who needed to be removed from their homes as soon as possible. Since May 2021, after completing major renovations, the compound now serves as a drop-in centre for up to 80 children and a safe house for up to 30 children who require temporary shelter from abuse.
How Your Gift Helps!
Your support helps vulnerable children escape exploitation and abuse; facilitates family re-integration and rehabilitation for children with addictions; provides children with access to basic needs such as food, health care, hygiene care, and psychosocial support; and empowers children through mentorship and education.
100% Of Your Donation
will be used to improve the lives of children in Kenya, thanks to some generous donors who pay all our overhead.
Since September 2022, RHCF now owns the property! When we started this project, we knew the renovations would increase the property’s value, which would likely lead the landlord to either a) increase the rent to a level RHCF couldn’t afford or, more likely b) sell the property to a new owner. To mitigate this risk, we suggested RHCF include an option to buy the property at the pre-renovation price when the lease expires at the end of October 2022.
The situation unfolded as expected, with buyers knocking on the door with purchase offers. Because of the massive outpouring of support from donors, RHCF was able to exercise their option to purchase, ensuring the long-term sustainability of this incredible children’s centre in Kawangware! Check out the sliders below to see the compound before and after renovations.
The RHCF Team
The key to the success of RHCF lies with gifted and passionate leaders, who build strong relationships with local people, understanding the culture and needs of the communities they serve. The RHCF team consists of four dynamic individuals who each spent their own childhoods on the streets, in and out of care homes supported by various charitable organizations. RHCF was born out of their experiences and inspiration and desire to reach out to others like themselves who could lead a better life if given the right help and encouragement.
“During my childhood, my mother could not afford to pay for our school fees whilst feeding us at the same time. I would spend many days at home and on the streets. My life on and off the streets is one that I would never wish to remember or even talk about. My wish is that a time will come when no child will have to endure the unbearable pain, torture and discrimination, in the name of ‘street child’.”
RHCF Project Manager
International Needs Canada is a charitable organization with a global network of 34 partner countries. Our approach to development relies on the empowerment of indigenous leaders to bring about change in their local communities. We focus primarily on the empowerment of vulnerable children through education, health and wellness, character development, and skills training.
International Needs Canada
Address: 230-1119 Fennell Ave E.,
Hamilton, ON, Canada, L8T 1S2
Charity Number: #12994 3072 RR0001