About Us

MISSION

Working to achieve a secured future through economic empowerment, skill and talent development for street children and families.

VISION

Provide evidence based solutions and practical street exit strategies for disadvantaged children and families.

About Smile Foundation Kenya

 

Smile Foundation Kenya (SFK) is nonprofit organization that works with street children and families in Kenya, to better their lives with the aim of enabling them  to exit successfully from the streets. Founded in 2013, SFK provides children and families on the  street with innovative solutions such as: education and training opportunities; economic empowerment programs; access to quality healthcare; basic care and support; mentoring through organized street support groups and lobbying for their rights; among other interventions.

 

Smile Foundation Kenya is managed by a team of  fourteen dedicated professionals. There are seven Trustees who make the organization’s policies and decisions and seven management team members who manage the day to day running of the organization.

 

The organization was founded in the year 2013, by Mr. Bradley Kivairu Ajega who has a passion to positively impact humanity and the community around him. The organization was formed in response to alarming and uncontrolled growing rates of crime, deaths, unemployment, homelessness,  physical, sexual and emotional abuse, unplanned pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, starvation, sexual exploitation, drug abuse and trafficking among street children/families.

Smile Foundation Kenya Objectives

 

Mobilizing – Smile Foundation Kenya reaches out to Street Children/Families with intentions of forming a long lasting bond and relation by visiting them at the street level and also by hosting events with the homeless, where members of the community; participate, interact, show love, affection and appreciation to street children/families. The government, law enforcers among other stakeholders are involved in discussions that help mitigate the street children/families problem.

 

Statistics – Smile Foundation Kenya researches and provides verifiable data and information pertaining to street children/families, from different street bases/ organized street groups in Kenya.  Information on causes of homelessness, and tried and tested solutions to curb the street children problem is made available to the general public. 

 

Street Exit Strategy – Smile Foundation Kenya programs are geared towards enabling street children/families to successfully and independently transition from the streets and reintegrate back to the community and/or families.

Smile Foundation Kenya Core Values

 

As a charitable organization committed to our causes, we uphold the following core values.

 

Integrity, Excellency, Creativity, Commitment to success, Teamwork, Professionalism, Transformation, Community, Inspiring, Risk-taking, Ethical, Visionary, Accountability, Consistency, Growth, Responsibility, Achievement, and Empowerment.

About our target group

 

Smile Foundation Kenya serves two target groups of people living in the streets: 

 

The first group that we serve is street children under the age of 18 years, both boys and girls whom we rescue from the streets, thereafter settle them with their families, relatives or a carefully recruited caregiver. We help them access high quality education and medical care. We also identify and nurture their skills and talents with intentions of securing their future by helping them to identify and pursue their career paths. We are currently supporting 3 talented boys.

 

The second target group that we serve is street families between the ages of 18 and 32, both men and women whom we encourage and support to form organized street support groups. We thereafter provide capacity building, mentorship and entrepreneurial training to the whole group; leadership skills training to the leaders/representatives; and eventually support the organized street group to start an income generating activity which is monitored and evaluated by SFK to ensure program success.

Street Children Problem Statement

 

Street children have a greater burden than other poor children who are supervised by adults.

 

Their problems could be grouped into three classes:

  1. Social,
  2. Physical, and
  3. Psychological

Key Social Problems

  • Poverty and illiteracy.

They lack basic resources to sustain a healthy living. They usually have no financial means to buy decent clothing (which may be necessary particularly during cold seasons ), and no money to buy food, which is crucial for their development. Because of the costs of services most street children cannot afford to go to school. Even where schools are free, many children cannot afford to buy uniforms, shoes and books. Street children live in places where
they are not adequately protected from the environment. They rarely have access to facilities that they need for hygiene and sanitation, such as toilets and clean and safe water supply. They are therefore more vulnerable to health problems resulting from poor sanitation.

 

  • Discrimination and lack of accessible resources

When the community makes plans, it does not take into consideration the street children’s’ plight. Street children tend to be excluded from participating in most of the activities and facilities of other children. This is one reason why street children often do not have access to medical, educational, recreational and vocational resources. They face problems such as lack of vaccinations; poor health, illiteracy and they cannot acquire skills needed for finding jobs.

 

  • Violent Environment

The street is an unprotected environment and street children are exploited frequently. In some places, street children may even face the possibility of physical injuries or death from  violence. Common sources of violence are: the police, gangs, drug syndicates, those who operate commercial sex businesses, death squads, other street children, families and sexual partners.

 

  • Stigmatization

Society usually perceives street children as difficult children who are out there to cause trouble. In general, the public thinks that street children are uncontrollable and violent, have substance use problems, have no morals, have lost all the ability to feel emotions such as love and that they turn into terrorists and revolutionaries. They tend to be unsympathetic to the street children’s’ plight. This negative attitude may be a result of the society’s inability to care for its people.

 

Key Physical Problems

  • Malnutrition

Even though some street children can usually get enough to eat, they do not have nutritious diets. This leads to malnutrition, anaemia and vitamin deficiencies.

  • Injuries

Injuries may be caused intentionally (including injuring self while intoxicated or when depressed) and unintentionally, e.g. due to use of tools which have been designed for adults. The rate of injuries is usually higher for male than for female street children.

  • Sexual and reproductive health problems.

Sexual and reproductive health problems affect both girls and boys. However, street girls are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse and exploitation. Common sexual and reproductive health problems include sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Pregnant street girls do not receive adequate antenatal care. Common diseases Street children experience many common diseases such as tuberculosis, skin diseases, and dental problems and parasitic diseases which can be prevented easily if these children have enough resources and their basic needs are met.

 

Key Psychological Problems

 

  • A Stressful Past

Many situations and events that pushed these children onto the street in the first place (like natural disasters, man-made disasters, exploitation and conflicts) may have a lasting impact on their wellbeing. For example, the family conflict that pushed the child onto the streets continues to deprive the child of emotional and material support for years afterwards. When the child has his or her own baby, neither the new parent nor the baby will have the benefit of the previous generation’s support.

  • A Transitory Lifestyle

Street children in some large cities move frequently from district to district or between cities. Sometimes they do this by choice, but at other times they are forced to move to hide from the police, welfare authorities, gangs, and drug syndicates. This type of lifestyle leads to problems of social isolation and loneliness and difficulties in developing emotional attachments to special individuals.

  • Mental Health

The stresses that street children experience make them vulnerable to emotional problems, psychiatric disorders and learning difficulties. They do not receive adequate care for these conditions. Substance use. Many street children are involved in harmful use of psychoactive substances. This can lead to overdose, increase the chance of accidents, violence, unwanted pregnancy and unprotected sex. Over time, the continued use of substances can lead to complications such as brain and liver damage

 

In conclusion

 

Children in abject problems can be recognized by rather elementary (as opposed to sophisticated) criteria. Top on the list is the absence of basic necessities such as shelter, food, clothing and water. Equally important is the ‘human condition’ in terms of physical health and parental care and protection. Schooling is high on the list as a critical criterion in determining who is extremely or modestly vulnerable and disadvantaged children. Due to the participatory and consultative reviews it undergoes regularly, this does not address many of the development challenges disadvantaged children face today. It would take lobbying and advocacy interventions to ensure that the needs and demands of children in abject poverty are met.

 

Also, street families form a vulnerable population in our country Kenya. There is a constant increase in the number of people living and working in the streets of major towns and cities around the country in search of opportunities, this poses a challenge because resources are strained and there are limited opportunities for them to earn an honest living. Most of them earn a living by collecting plastic and scrap metals that are later sold to brokers at a small fee whereas others depend on odd jobs such as garbage collection and valuable recovery as an alternative source of income, both of which are not dependable because of the scramble of the valuable but limited opportunity. Most people living in the streets are school dropouts thus lowers their chances to secure a decent employment opportunity. Based on an article by the business daily, published on June 14, 2018, about thirty per cent, or three out of ten students who enroll for school in grade one in Kenya, fails to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), signifying the high rate of either dropout or repetition of grades. Potential employers tend to shy away from people living and working in the streets, since they are perceived as thugs and as outcasts in our society. With nowhere and no one to turn to, they often result in drug and substance abuse among other vices.

Our Past Success

 

Below is a summary of Smile Foundation Kenya success over the years of its existence.

 

Peace and conflict resolution between rival street groups, and also between the community members and street groups around Kware, Nairobi area, which was achieved through peace talks and negotiations. Economic empowerment of a street group that had 50 registered members back in the year 2013 to 2014, the group being led by Munene a street leader, reared pigs and chicken for commercial use, planted vegetables and trees along outering road in Nairobi that was later sold to members of the community and vendors for profit. The group had a successful car wash business along outering road and a motorcycle carrier for taxi business.

 

In 2015 to 2016 Smile Foundation Kenya rescued and reunited 25 street children with their families under the street children development program.

 

In 2017 we successfully recruited 15 street connected children from Soweto, Nairobi area where we trained them on good character, morals, and etiquette under Apreciar Mentorship Program. 

 

In 2018, we pioneered and implemented four strategic programs as follows:

 

1). Hugs for Smiles program – this is an organized event with the homeless that aims to reintegrate street children and families back to the community. We have hosted more than 20 events with the homeless to date. 

 

2). Smile Connect program – this is where we visit street children and families at the street level to make follow up and identify their plight and also economically empower them. 

 

3). Smile Care program – this initiative targets to rescue and support talented street children education and nurture their skills and talent and also provide for their upkeep. We recruit and train youths to care for our beneficiaries thus provide employment opportunities as caregivers and also enable them to become responsible individuals in the society. 

 

4). Her Smile program – this is a street women/girls initiative that aims to mentor and economically empower street women which in turn enables them to care for their kids thus reducing the street children problem cycle. 

Classifications of People living in the streets

 

There are three main classifications of People living in the streets (Homeless Street children/families);

 

The first classification includes people born and raised in the streets; this category call streets their home. They have nowhere and no one to turn to. 

 

The second classification includes people who live on and off the streets; this category consist of individuals who have families and relatives. They often decide to run away from their homes and return back when conditions are favorable. Most of them run away due to different factors – poverty, family violence and peer pressure tops the list. 

 

The third and final classification include people working in the streets. This category often has a place to stay and only go to the streets to work and spend time with their friends in the streets. When night falls, they go back to their families and houses. 

Governance Structure

 

Smile Foundation Kenya is governed by Trustees who are responsible for making organization policies and decisions, offer guidance and counsel, oversee the organization’s resources, authorize payments among other duties The Chief Executive Officer of the organization in general supervises and controls the day-to-day business and affairs of the organization. Management Team (office bearers) manages the day to day operations and activities within the organization. The Program Department implements different programs and initiatives within the organization. The Resource Mobilization Department is responsible for raising the necessary funds to effectively implement the society’s activities. The Marketing and Public Relations Department is responsible to promote awareness of Smile Foundation Kenya and assist other departments with communications and public relations techniques.

Our Slogan:

Inspiring Fresh Hope

Smile Foundation Kenya

Trustees

Dr. Joseph Mophat Kilioba

Trustee

Has been supporting us for

1 Year

Judge. Mwangi Njoroge

Trustee

Has been supporting us for

2 Years

Prof. Paul Ochola

Trustee

Has been supporting us for

1 Year

Mr. Sam Abwoga

Trustee

Has been supporting us for

1 Years

Mrs. Cathrine Juma

Trustee

Has been supporting us for

1 Year

Dr. Reginald G. Flynn

Trustee

Has been supporting us for

1 Year

Mr. Bradley Kivairu Ajega

Trustee

Has been supporting us for

7 Years

Smile Foundation Kenya

Management Team

Eng. John Maina

Management

Has been supporting us for

5 Years

Mrs. Jecinta Indeche

Management

Has been supporting us for

1 Year

Mr. Edward Maina

Management

Has been supporting us for

3 Years

Mrs. Margaret Akech

Management

Has been supporting us for

2 Years

Ms. Kentis Khisa

Management

Has been supporting us for

1 Year

Mrs. Bithian Mureithi

Management

Has been supporting us for

1 Year

Mr. Isaac Mitau

Management

Has been supporting us for

1 Years

Bradley Kivairu Ajega


Smile Foundation Kenya Founder and CEO, Youth and Kids Mentor, Smile Ambassador, International Community Development expert.

Bradley Kivairu Ajega


Smile Foundation Kenya was founded in the year 2013 as a passion to positively impact humanity and the community.

Bradley Kivairu Ajega


Partner with us financially and with in-kind gifts to help homeless children and families have an empowered exit from the streets.