Street children and human dignity: The case of SODZO International and the Methodist Church in Maua, Kenya
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Street children are described as worthless, thieves, homeless children who have no life. Most are born and die in suffering. The issue of street children is a challenge experienced globally, whether in developed or developing countries. Statistically, there is an increase of street chil-dren all over the world. It is also shown that children in and of the street are facing a lot of challenges and sufferings. The society has despised them, and they do not value them as a human being. Within such an understanding, this study was done to explore how the church has taken that challenge to restore the dignity of these children. The research explored and shows certain behaviors and certain factors which contribute to the increase of street children in Maua town. The factors are well known, but no one has come out to take any serious measure to reduce the sufferings and increase of children in the streets. The questions were directed to the church leaders and Sodzo organization leaders in relation to these children, as theologically speaking the church is an institution that ought to shape society, and to which people turn for both spiritual and physical rescue. Based on the research findings, the local Methodist Church and partners institution Sodzo In-ternational are trying to add value and dignity to the street children. This is done by reducing their sufferings, and other challenges they face on the streets. Through the study, I discovered that the church has also tried to reduce the socio-cultural negativity connected to the marginal-ization, rejection and merciless killings of the street children. This is done by instilling mercy and love, through a message that every child deserves care and love, just like any other child in the society. However, the study found out that the church and Sodzo affiliated organizations in their en-deavors to take care of street children, are faced with financial challenges and growing numbers of street children. The study found that the key factor contributing to the growing number of street kids and families are related to socio-economic challenges. The large majority of the kids are from the low- and middle-income families. The study, therefore, suggests that the church should work close with the government in order to design special programmes to address the societal socio-economic challenges.