Despite strong economic growth in recent years, 40% of Kenyans still live below the poverty line. The majority of children living in these slums come from socially excluded and marginalised families with little or no access to basic services. Many are cared for by young single mothers, survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence, living in abject poverty. These young women have not chosen to be parents and are not equipped for the role emotionally or financially. Some are still children themselves.
Levels of unemployment are high and for those who do find work; most are employed in informal and unskilled jobs, where wages are often low and unstable. An estimated 80% of women aged 15-24 in slum settlements have no form of income generating activities. This lack of earnings also pushes children out onto the streets to supplement household income. An estimated 33% of 5-14 year olds in Kenya are working children.
Children in Nairobi work in a number of jobs; from scavenging in dumpsites, breaking rocks in quarries, or through risky and illegal activities including prostitution. These children are in danger of sexual assault and physical abuse on a daily basis. Working on the streets also prevents them from going to school and getting an education, damaging their future prospects irreparably. This results in a cycle of poverty that often leaves children no choice but to spend the rest of their lives on the street