RHYCO Safe House & Drop-In Centre

The RHYCO Safe House and Drop-In Centre was established to bring hope and protection to vulnerable children living in the Kawangware Slums.

The Problem

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. 

The Program

In 2014, we partnered with the Real Hope Youth Community Organization (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. The centre provides nutritional support, education, mentorship, hygiene care, and psychosocial support for both parents and children. When Kawangware saw a sharp rise in domestic and sexual abuse during COVID-19 lockdowns, RHYCO moved quickly to establish a safe house as well for children who needed to be removed from their homes as soon as possible. Since May 2021, the RHYCO compound has served as a drop-in centre for up to 70 children and a safe house for up to 20 children who require temporary shelter from abuse. 


Martha Wanjiru is a beneficiary of the school sponsorship program and is supported by ‘Ruth’ from Canada. Martha is the second born in a family of seven children, living with her mother, a single parent, and siblings in a 10X10ft shanty of iron sheets with little or limited food or clean water, poor sanitation facilities and no electricity. Martha’s mother is a casual labourer whose income barely meets the basic needs for her children. They are malnourished, shabbily dressed and often have to fend for themselves on the streets in Kawangware during the day and at night. Through the sponsorship program, Martha now attends school, the family receives food hampers and Martha’s mother has been given an opportunity to engage in an income-generating business.


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, and hygiene care; and empowers children through mentorship and education. Thanks to some generous donors who pay all our overhead, 100% of your gift will be sent to the RHYCO Safe House & Drop-In Centre!

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The RHYCO Team

The key to the success of RHYCO lies with gifted and passionate leaders, who build strong relationships with local people, understanding the culture and needs of the communities they serve. The RHYCO 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. RHYCO 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’.”

MARTHA MWENDE

RHYCO Project Manager

“It is our hope that with counselling, skills teaching, and mentorship, street youth will be able to find or create work for themselves and lead more fulfilling lives. We want to see younger street children reintegrated into families, going to school, and leading meaningful lives. The safe house and drop-in centre will help us immensely to reach these goals.”

JOCELYN MURAYA

Director of International Needs Kenya

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International Needs Canada

Toll-free: 1-888-702-9805
Office: 
1-905-389-1118
Email: 
info@internationalneeds.ca
Address:
230-1119 Fennell Ave E.,
Hamilton, On, Canada, L8T 1S2
Charity Number: #12994 3072 RR0001