Napenda Kuishi Rehabilitation Program

In the late 1980’ the Comboni Missionaries residing and staffing Holy Trinity Parish in the informal settlement of Kariobangi North began a steady and stable presence in the slum of Korogocho as a way to be inserted with the life of slum dwellers.

There were many challenges the missionaries had to face, one of those being the high number of street children in Korogocho and in Dandora dumping site which borders Korogocho.

In the early 1990’s the Comboni Missionaries started the first experimental program for street children then called: “Korogocho street children Program.”

Back in these days the program was very simple and aimed mainly at offering to the children an alternative to street life, a place to be during the day, warm meals and most of all the affection and love they lacked. This was done mainly thanks to the help and availability of members of the community of St. John Church in Korogocho, an outstation of Holy Trinity Parish in Kariobangi.

Little by little the program grew and the first counselors were hired to develop the first rehabilitation program.   At the beginning help was also provided thanks to the involvement of various Italian NGOs and Italian volunteers who helped in structuring the first rehabilitation program.

In the early 2000’s the Program was renamed Napenda Kuishi Rehabilitation Program and a new component was added: rehabilitation alcoholic men and women of Korogocho.

The two centers operating back then were Kisumu Ndogo and Boma Rescue both in Korogocho. In 2006 Napenda Kuishi begun the construction of the residential facility in Kibiko (what is now Napenda Kuishi Residential Home) which was concluded in 2007 when the first group of children begun the residential treatment for rehabilitation.

In 2014 Napenda Kuishi went through some trying times while dealing with an aging staff and changing demographics concerning street children.

For this reason, in the middle of 2015 Napenda Kuishi begun a radical transformation that, without betraying the original inspiration and scope of the program, has changed the way it operates and the way rehabilitation programs are implemented. 

Nowadays Napenda Kuishi employs a highly qualified staff (counselors, social workers, psychologists, etc) and has a new managerial structure in line with the demands of a modern and efficient rehabilitation program.

Napenda Kuishi now focuses all its rehabilitation efforts not on children but on addicted teens and youth who are now the most vulnerable and the most abandoned people living on the streets.Two factors were instrumental in making this switch: first the presence, even in slums and informal settings, of a great number of centers for street children and thus the “saturation” of this need; secondly the realization that in slums and informal settings nowadays one of the most challenging presences is the high number of teens and youth who are highly addicted to drugs, alcohol and to various others forms of “Poverty originated and poverty conditioned addictions” (sniffing glue, turpentine, jet fuel, etc.)These factors, together with the emerging challenges of sexual exploitation and abuse, child labor and lately the danger of radicalization for many of these easy to manipulate youth and teens, have determined the change from street children to street teens and youth.

Furthermore these teens and youth often survive the streets by leaving dangerously (being part of gangs, being easily “radicalized” etc.) and by committing petty crimes that unfortunately at times become capitol crimes.

These youth are feared by other slum dwellers, despised by all and targeted by the police that see them as a menace and a nuisance to be eliminated at all costs and with all means.    

In its new reshaping Napenda Kuishi RehabilitationProgram now serves teens and youth who will be otherwise forgotten, labeled as criminals and often also killed because of gang wars or Police persecution.

Our program and strategies are now highly professional and implemented with the support of experts in the field of addictions, teen’s development, prevention, education etc.; a new effort and focus is now on family therapy as a fundamental part of the journey toward rehabilitation.

Napenda Kuishi is now among the leaders in Nairobi, and thus in Kenya, for rehabilitation and reintegration of street tens and youth and provides support also to schools and other institutions in the field of addictions, sexual exploitation prevention, reintegration and family therapy.

As the next step in offering a comprehensive and holistic approach to rehabilitation -by the end of 2018-Napenda Kuishi will complete the construction and accreditation of a new Training School (The Napenda Kuishi Training Center and Polytechnic) where rehabilitated youth will be trained in Business management, carpentry, plumbing and electrical works.

With this great and demanding effortNapenda Kuishi aims at creating a new and more inclusive way of doing rehabilitation where the young person goes through rehabilitation, reintegration and then reinsertion into society with the proper skills to become a contributive and positive member of the community.

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