“After I left care I did not know how to make friends with people outside the care institution”

In Kenya, over 50,000 children live in Residential care institutions. As a result each year hundreds of young people leave care. Leaving care has been a nightmare for most. Some are neglected and most are inadequately prepared to face the world beyond the walls of institutions. The ramifications of neglecting their plight by the Government, NGO’s are disabling and devastating. For most, they are thrown into a realm of poverty, and often recklessly abandoned by the very systems supposed to support them. Too often, socio-emotionally they are left decimated; they lack adequate social skills to navigate life and deprived of prerequisite emotional IQ to cope with psychological and emotional challenges that run back to their childhood. Despite the challenges, this damaging realization has not translated to relevant, practical steps to address the needs of these young people.

As a result of the dismaying reality; Kenya Society of Careleavers was established in 2009 by and for young people who grew up in charitable child care institutions to try and address some of the challenges they experience after exit, and help them deal with the traumas of their past. The mission of the organization is to help young people (18 + years) cope better socially, emotionally and economically after exiting care institutions. We strive to achieve this through personal development programs and partnerships with like-minded individuals, groups, and NGO’s. Currently, the organization has supported over 200 Careleavers with meaningful life-skills in the communities, and our aspiration is to continue engaging, inspiring and empowering them.

In addition, the organization lobbies for quality care, and against unnecessary institutionalization of children. KESCA has engaged and continues to engage the Government and other service providers in forums, meeting and conferences in quest to not only make their issue visible but also their voices heard. Their voices are important for enhancement, development, and change of regulations, legislations and policies.

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"Through the support of caring individuals, institutions and organizations, care leavers have continued to benefit from the life changing programs that aim to improving their overall welfare"