“Opportunity Street Boy” Mwenda ran away after “simple family argument”, children’s home says


“Opportunity Street Boy” Mwenda ran away after “simple family argument”, children’s home says
Morris Mwenda

After a video was posted on Facebook by Abdulghani Adam, showing Morris Mwenda back on the streets, Homeless of Nairobi (HoN) has now come out to state that the “Opportunity Street Boy” is back to the Gachie-based shelter.

HoN posted pictures of Mwenda and other street children at the home, explaining that Mwenda and the other boys had left the home after a family “misunderstanding”.

“This weekend, a simple family argument turned into national news. It’s difficult to quantify emotions through words in moments such as these. But what matters is that the boys are back home,” read the lengthy post.

According to the home’s official page, the “simple family argument” was blown out of proportion when the Adam’s video made headlines. The argument, according to HoN, has been resolved.

“We don’t look at our home as an institution but as a family and every family will fight. But they’ll always reconcile,” read the Facebook post.

The organisation explained that 15 boys, including Mwenda, left the home ahead of the 4-day weekend.

“On Thursday night, the boys at our home in Gachie, seeing a long weekend ahead, decided to go on a walkabout,” read the Facebook post.

According to the organization, when the boys decide to run away, they usually go to places such as “Electric Avenue” in Westlands where nightclubs rage throughout the night.

Once there, they wait on the streets, hoping to make money from drunken partygoers.

In Adam’s video, which has been a subject of online debate for a number of days, Mwenda and his compatriots swear never to return to the home.

Mwenda alleges mistreatment, going as far as pointing to a “scar” – an injury that he allegedly got when the caretaker beat him up over a book.

Addressing the allegations put forward by Mwenda on the viral clip, HoN said: “Now, to address the video that has been circulating over the past day that shows a young boy, high on something, making statements about our home, read into that what you will. We are not here to influence your minds or defend ourselves because the truth of the matter is that we have a lot of work to do on a daily basis. All we ask is that you leave the boy with his dignity.”

However, the organization further pointed out that there has been a lot of negative press over the whole Mwenda situation.

Instead of focusing on the mistake of a young boy, the shelter asks Kenyans to use such incidents to spark conversations about homelessness.

“Let’s use these situations to be catalysts for conversations revolving around homelessness and rehab centers and children’s homes,” read the post.

Below is the full length message from the Homeless of Nairobi:

This weekend, a simple family argument turned into national news.

It’s difficult to quantify emotions through words in moments such as these. But what matters is that the boys are back home. We don’t look at our home as an institution but as a family. And every family will fight. But they’ll always reconcile.

We’d like to take this opportunity to really thank the people who sent us kind wishes, who helped look for the kids in their own ways using their own networks and who stuck with us by this tough time giving us much needed support. We are humbled by your kindness. To those who criticized us, thank you. We are learning from our mistakes.

On Thursday night, the boys at our home in Gachie, seeing a long weekend ahead, decided to go on a walkabout. They usually go to places such as Electric Avenue in Westlands where all the nightclubs rage throughout the nights. They wait outside and hope to make money from drunk partygoers. Old habits die hard, as they say. They tend to make a lot of money on some occasions as revelers, often in a good mood, part with cash. One time, one of the boys made seven thousand shillings in a night! The fact that people give these kids money is detrimental in the long term. It keeps them on the streets longer. They buy drugs and glue with this money. We, as a society, must really think before giving a monetary handout to these kids. Sometimes you feel guilty and want to give them money but we really hope you see that it’s perpetuating a dangerous lifestyle. If the boys don’t have things such as these to look forward to, they have no reason to run away from our homes.

It is hard to break them out of the life they’ve been accustomed to. It is difficult to break their addiction from sniffing glue. It is not as simple as taking kids off the streets, offering them a roof over their head and food, taking them to school and expecting them to be model members of society. No, it takes time. They’re still just kids. Kids who haven’t had a structure in their lives. At that age, we were all rebellious in our own ways.

Now, to address the video that has been circulating over the past day that shows a young boy, high on something, making statements about our home, read into that what you will. We are not here to influence your minds or defend ourselves because the truth of the matter is that we have a lot of work to do on a daily basis. All we ask is that you leave the boy with his dignity.

It’s easy to demonize, victimize and criticize. There’s been lots of negative press over the Morris situation but instead of focusing on the mistake of a young boy, let’s use these kinds of issues to be proactive about the homelessness in Kenya. Let’s use these situations to be catalysts for conversations revolving around homelessness and rehab centers and children’s homes.

This community we’re building online, and offline, is very important in bridging the divide between the homeless, the homeless shelters and the public because we give you a comprehensive view of how things work behind the scenes. And once you can see the internal workings, you can help fix the problems. The truth remains that we can only do this with your help. We ask not only for funding but also for advice, love and your time.

This is a link to a Google doc –
https://docs.google.com/…/19hwUbe9W5_4ANK2jiT4pzU…/viewform…

If you feel you’d like to donate time, vocational training or whatever else, please do leave your contacts and what you’d like to help with and we’ll get back to you.

Thank you.

For Citizen TV updates
Join @citizentvke Telegram channel



Video Of The Day: Man allegedly killed by uncle over Ksh.9M insurance cover #MurderForProfit

Story By Cynthia Nduta
More by this author