Confidence sanitary towel manufacturer partners with clean start to emphasise education for the juvenile child 

In recognition of International Day of the African child which is celebrated annually on June 16th, CLEAN START a local NGO is advocating for the need for quality education for the juvenile child to equip them with education and skills for a successful integration when they get back into society.

Speaking at an event at Dagorreti Girls Rehabilitation Centre held on 12th June, 2019 to commemorate International Day of the  African Child, Teresa Njoroge, Founder of Clean Start said, “Kenya’s prison population comprises of a large youth population where 65% are aged between 18 – 25 years caused mainly by unemployment.  Through educating youths in juvenile, we re-route their lives and equip them with skills that enable them to access employment post release.”

Teresa Njoroge had first-hand experience of prison and in 2011 was sentenced to a year in Langata Women Maximum Security Prison, Nairobi with her three-month-old baby.  Being a mother in prison gave her exposure to the desperate plight of the women and children she met behind bars and has devoted her life to educating, equipping and empowering inmates to better prepare for reintegration into society.

Confidence sanitary towel manufacturer partners with clean start to emphasise education for the juvenile child
Confidence sanitary towel manufacturer partners with clean start to emphasise education for the juvenile child

However, the education facilities at the rehabilitation centres are far from adequate.  According to Mary Njuguna,  Assistant children Protection Officer at Dagoretti Girls Rehabilitation School, they have only 4 classrooms and 2 teachers for the 72 girl population at their centre who are  aged 11 – 18 years.

In addition, Confidence Sanitary Pad Brand Manager, Evelyn Wangeci of Kimfay East Africa, a local manufacturer of hygiene and personal care products was at the event to donate sanitary pads.   “Without adequate provision of sanitary pads, girls on average miss 2 – 3 days each month of school attendance which makes them miss out on class concepts. We support that juvenile children have a right to child friendly, good quality education and have donated pads and given them menstrual hygiene skills to give the girls confidence to stay in school,” says Evelyn.

The Day of the African Child has been celebrated since 1991, when it was first initiated by the OAU organisation of African Unity. It honours those who participated in the 1976 Soweto uprising when ten thousand black schoolchildren marched in a column for more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language.  The Day of the African Child raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.

CLEAN START is concerned about the disparity in the quality of education in the juvenile institutions. Believing that all children have a right to education, CLEAN START is addressing the education disparity concerns and raising awareness to respective policy makers and relevant stakeholder authorities to improve the situation.

According to Teresa Njoroge, Founder of Clean Start, “This year’s Day of the African Child’s theme is Humanitarian – Action in Africa – Children’s  Rights First.  Our goal this year is to celebrate the child in the juvenile justice system in

Kenya and raise awareness of the continued need for improvement of the education provided to the juvenile African children.  There is a need to finance Juvenile children’s education but also to find schools which can integrate children who leave the Juvenile institutions.”

Speaking at the event, Mr Muthoka, a representative from Department of Children’s Services (DCS) said that raising the standards of juvenile education should be tackled through multi-sectorial partnerships.  “Let us share the responsibilities of raising the children. No child should be left to suffer.” The Department of Childrens’ Services also aims at moving as many children from residential centres back into the family. We empower the families so that children get as much social support from the family and relatives.”

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