Social WelfareEmbu Rescue Centre
The Embu Rescue Centre for Street Children in Eastern Kenya provides a safe and open contact point for street children in Embu where they can seek and receive help from caring adult staff and volunteers.
The children and young people who come to the centre are able to receive the care, attention, and love that every child needs. We offer counseling and support to address the many issues they face which can include lack of stable accommodation, exclusion from education, the absence of family support, harassment from the police, poverty, pressure to engage in gang membership, begging and substance abuse.
The centre is open on a daily basis and also provides shower, washing and toilet facilities for the children as well as a daily feeding programme, ensuring that these children who often suffer great hardship on a daily basis are able to get at least one decent meal a day and porridge served in the morning. Between 100 and 120 children from the most difficult backgrounds visit the Rescue Centre every day to get fed, rising to over 150 during droughts in the country when food prices escalate and families struggle to provide regular meals.
We aim to give the children and young people at Embu a chance at life beyond the street and hope for their futures. Educational and vocational workshops are also run from the centre and children may be referred to other Moving Mountains programmes for support. The staff at Embu Rescue Centre liaise with local schools to help children get back into formal education where appropriate and try to help the older young people to find employment or set up business initiatives through the 'Embu Rescue Centre Youth Group'.
We have a number of real success stories among these boys and girls, with a large number getting back into the education process, returning to their families, setting up successful businesses, moving in to homes and joining our ‘Black Cats’ Football Club where they realise their value to society and are given the springboard to get away from the dangerous life on the streets.
The ‘Black Cats’ Sports Program, which initially used football and other sports to attract and support street children and boys and girls from rural and slum communities has been a huge success and has extended in to dance clubs and even an orchestra which is based at Embu County Primary School, one of the slum schools that we have developed in Embu.
In Embu, aside from County Primary, Moving Mountains has also developed Urban Primary and the local school for children with special needs, and on the lower slopes of Mt Kenya, about 10 km’s outside Embu town we are in the process of re-building the rural Gatwe Primary School.
History of the Project
Throughout the years the Embu Rescue Centre has never had any secured funding, despite its important service to the local community and the hundreds of children who have benefitted from their association with the Centre. Rather, it has relied on local and international volunteers to ensure that it remains open daily and the generous support of Moving Mountains donors.
2005 – Moving Mountains began working in Embu and renovated the classroom / small hall, built an office, a store, kitchen with eco-stove, toilet and shower facilities, installed a perimeter fence and equipped the centre with vital utensils and equipment.
2006 – Moving Mountains started the Black Cats Sports programme at Embu Rescue Centre.
2007 – Volunteers in the form of sabbatical placements, Africamp groups, and sports volunteers started working out of Embu Rescue Centre.
2011 – Severe storm damage lead to Moving Mountains donors contributing to pay for much-needed repairs to the building.
Photo: Damage from a tree that ripped through the Rescue Centre in 2011
From 2011 to this day the Embu Rescue Centre has remained open with a number of both international and Kenyan volunteers spending time there with the full-time staff, helping with counseling, our Black Cats Sports programme, development projects at local schools and the feeding programme.
Africamp volunteer groups (Adventure Alternative)
Sports volunteers (Adventure Alternative)
Sabbatical placements (Adventure Alternative)
Blackrock Hillwalking Club & Friends (Cork)
Photo: Blackrock Hillwalking Club donating football boots and equipment in Embu
Volunteering - teaching non-examinable subjects such as music, sport, arts, ethics, plus running extra-curricular clubs and providing small group reading lessons, mentoring and group therapy work.
Photo: Friend of MMKenya, Roger Davies, volunteering at the Rescue Centre
Together with the programmes run and funded by Moving Mountains the centre is now established as a critical basic support service for the street children of Embu. We aim to continue to develop the centre to provide additional services to the children and to continue to provide a bridge for them to get back into education, training or employment.
Additional income for the centre comes from sabbatical placements, medical elective students, Africamp groups and sports volunteers organised by Adventure Alternative. The aim is to attract specific donors to support the programme whilst also making the centre as financially sustainable as possible by providing income streams through volunteer placements.
Photo: Africamp group arriving at the Rescue Centre