Bungoma Mayor initiating development and innovation projects to enhance development in the town
Written by Timothy Makokha
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The number of street children in Bungoma County has gone up to over 3,000 according to a recent survey done by the Bungoma municipal.
The survey was done in the major towns and markets, including: Bungoma, Kanduyi, Webuye, Chwele, Bukembe, among other small market centers within the county.
Ms. Leonida Wafula who is the welfare chairperson of Bungoma municipality, said there are various attempts that have been made to rehabilitate street children in the county. For instance she mentioned the case of liaising with the chairlady for ‘Street Family Child Fund’ in order to get a lasting solution of rehabilitating street children.
The association has already written a proposal of Sh1.2 million to the Street Family Child Fund committee in the ministry of local government for the construction of a rehabilitation center on a 5 acres piece of land at Namasanda village.
The move begun the year 2009 where 21 street children were picked from Bungoma town to Kakamega approved school after which some were sent to their parents as the rest of the team remained in the approved school.
Ms. Leonida said that the society has a problem where girls give birth to children before marriage and leave them with no care as they get married elsewhere. This is why some frustrated children end up in streets in struggle for survival.
The Bungoma town mayor Mr. Patrick Masibo (above) started a welfare fund called the ‘Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund’ which is supported by the Bungoma municipal council, the business fraternity and Kenya Red Cross Bungoma branch. The purpose of the fund is to help needy families within the county in the month of December each year to enable the poor celebrate Christmas.
22 needy families in the Bungoma municipality were identified by the welfare group which gives them Sh.600 each month for up keep. Dr. Amin Kheith of the Elgon view hospital is the chairperson of this fund.
The fund aims at reaching out for at least 50 families in each of the 8 wards in Bungoma municipality. The committee as well organizes a medical camp each year on 22 December to offer free medical services to poor people in the county.
The mayor disclosed that the projects that are being implemented with the LATF funding in the municipality: the construction of the Khalaba bridge, erecting of classes at Okanya primary, two classes at Musikoma secondary and two ECDE classes at Musikoma primary.
The LATF project has ensured construction of wells (water points) in the 8 wards within the Bungoma municipality. Water kiosks have been erected within the municipality and are being run by the crippled people to make them earn a living out of that.
The mayor is as well liaising with school head teachers in the region to ensure good performance in the schools both in the internal and national exams. The mayor said that needy students in the municipality are accessing bursaries to enable them continue with their studies.
About the collapse of houses under construction in the Bungoma town he said that he is following the case together with the DC and other senior administrators in the county.
The mayor raised concern over the increased number of elderly beggars in the town and urged the people in the community to take care of the old in order to curb the begging culture.
The Bungoma town mayor regretted the presence of street children in town saying that the people who give birth to children should take care of them instead of leaving them to meander aimlessly along streets. He also said that there is an NGO based in Israel that has promised to donate kshs.17 million towards rehabilitating street children in Bungoma town.
The rehabilitation program is being organized by Rev. Shavuta from Ndengelwa who is liaising with the funding organization from Israel. It is believed that their main aim is to work on attitudes before providing clothing and other necessary material as well as transforming them into new beings.
The mayor suggested that street children whose parents are identified should be taken back to the parents and those whose parents are not known to be rehabilitated in children’s homes. He said that the main challenge they are facing as the town management is that some street children who were rehabilitated at the children’s home sneak back to the streets causing a security threat to the town dwellers.
The mayor also warned youths against the ‘jobs in town’ mentality, saying that job opportunities are everywhere; it depends on how creative an individual is. Still on the same he urged leaders to alert youths to be creative and begin CBO’s, NGO’s and Sacco’s to uplift their living standards.
“It is our responsibility and the responsibility of the church to weed out corruption and individualism from society. People suffer because of lack of creativity and innovation,” said the mayor.
He quoted the River of Jordan orphanage at Musikoma in Bungoma town to have transformed several street children, reducing their number from the town.