A journey back to the classroom

Moses was sleeping rough and rummaging through bins to survive. Today, life is very different…

Moses is a hardworking student who dreams of becoming a doctor one day. It’s hard to imagine that just a year ago, this gifted 12-year-old was living and working on the streets.

As a street child in the Kasarani slum in the city of Eldoret, Moses survived by scouring bins and rubbish tips for scrap metal and begging for food. It was a hard life and he was often cold and hungry. Now – thanks to a caring teacher and the guarantee of a nutritious daily meal – he has moved home and is back at school.

“One of the things that made me come back off the streets was that my head teacher said there would be food [at school],” Moses says. “That helped to bring me back.”

When Mrs Mashinga, the head teacher at Kapkenduiywo Primary School, noticed that Moses was no longer attending lessons, she decided to step in.

“I learned he was selling scrap, so I sent some of his classmates to find him,” she says. “We brought him back to class and he has never left school since then. He’s a good student, and we are trying to help him. I hope Moses can get a better life.”

Like many children in Kenya’s impoverished urban slums, Moses has a troubled home life but he is enjoying school and knows that education could be the key to a brighter future – for him and his community.

“Most of the children here come from very difficult backgrounds,” he says. “Getting education opens new avenues – going to secondary school, university, getting a good job. In the future, I would like to be a doctor. There’s an old man who lives near me and he’s very sick. He has no family and he lives alone. I would become a doctor to help him and people like him.”

It’s estimated that up to 300,000 children are living and working on the streets in Kenya’s urban slum settlements, where they face extreme poverty, hardship and uncertainty.

Mary’s Meals works to attract incredibly vulnerable children like Moses back into the classroom, where they can learn in a safe and welcoming environment and realise their dreams.