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Children in Kenya forced to the streets as food insecurity rises

Many children in Kenya have turned to a life on the streets as prolonged drought and spikes in food prices lead them to find a means to survive, IRIN reports.

Children tend to leave home for the larger cities - Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu - in search of light labor such as sweeping up shops, washing dishes or doing household chores as a means to support themselves, after their families simply cannot. Others loiter outside of markets and restaurants asking passerbys for food or money.

In the town of Marasabit in northern Kenya, there were 2,500 street children in May, while there were just 300 during this time in 2010, according to records from the district children's services office.

"Marsabit didn't have this high number of street children but as the drought continues and the cost of living goes up and food prices go north there has been an influx of them," Fatuma Adan, coordinator of the Horn of Africa Development Initiative, a local humanitarian group, told the news source. "They can't get food at home so they come to the town to get food. Not all children who have filled the streets come from rural families, some have parents living here in the town but they are as hard hit as those in the rural areas."
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