Streets Ahead, Harare, Zimbabwe
We visit streets ahead and exchange ideas with its friendly director; we support this cause with a donation.
|Name||Streets Ahead, Harare, Zimbabwe|
|Aim||To assist the street children of Harare: “Streets Ahead is a welfare organization … that assists underprivileged children and youths aged between 6-18 living and working on the streets of Harare”|
|Since||established 1991; since 1994 drop-in centre “House of Smiles” partnering with CESVI.|
|Staff||17 fulltime workers, up to 6 volunteers|
|People reached||14 children live in the foster home
about 650 street children aged 0-18 are reached
|Contact||57 Livingstone Ave.
Corner 6th St. Harare
“Streets Ahead provides a comprehensive service that meets the psychosocial and practical needs of street children. This is achieved through operating a Drop-in centre in the city, a transit centre for children awaiting reunification, a foster home for children whose famililes were not located, a day and night outreach service in the streets of Harare, educational support, skills training, medical support as well as reuniting children with their families or relatives.”
We visit the drop-in centre in central Harare and the press officer shows us around. The centre has a spacious kitchen where the streetkids can get a meal if they want. Streets ahead does run a children’s home, but it doesn’t have the allowance for accomodating streetkids. The reason for that is a bad experience from another Zimbabwe city, where more and more children opted to become streetkids and crash in the newly built shelter for the needy cases. The street kids of Harare come to the drop-in centre as they please – and they do like it.
|During a Capoeira workshop|
Streets ahead organizes several income-generating life skills activities, such as basket weaving and candle moulding. Those are typical initiatives that can easily be shared across borders. We talk about the possibilities as we walk around the quiet backyard of the drop-in centre.
The centre also offers various activities to boost the kids’ self-esteem, “provide a constructive social environment” and help them develop a sustainable vision for their future, such as Capoeira. Via the Belgian ngo Volens streets ahead has attracted some Capoeira teachers and they do a great job as we can see on our way out. The children are enthusiastic and we see this activity contributing very positively to their development into young adults.
Streets Ahead plan to establish a transit centre where another 12 kids can stay up to 90 days before they are reunified with their (distant) families.
Streets Ahead is open for spontaneous volunteers (charity travelers) that could stay one week for example and teach the kids any artistic skills. They have made the experience that many teachers have a positive effect on the children, as long as some continuity is guaranteed by long-term mentors.