26 January 2013

Kenya: Is This Your Baby?

THE Nairobi Rescue Centre yesterday paraded fifty lost and abandoned children and called on the public to help identify their families. The event at Milimani Children's Court is normally conducted after every two months.

At yesterday's parade, five children with special needs were among those paraded, with an appeal to the public to help trace their kinsmen as past efforts have been futile.

Lower Kabete Children's Protection officer Jane Munuhe called on families to be extra careful when on outings with their loved ones. "There is a tendency for cases to increase ahead of the festive season and when schools are about to resume after holidays," she said.

Munuhe said from last December, the centre has received 32 new cases terming this an "abnormally high number". Last November, the Star published 35 pictures of the lost children.

Munuhe says this led to a record 41 children being reunited with their families in a spun of two months. She said while some lost cases are genuine, there are those that are abandoned by their caregivers due to poverty because of poor backgrounds.

"This is one of our greatest challenges because family details become hard to obtain. Also, because we only deal with children below seven years, most of them are unable to express themselves in a way that can be understood," she said.

Munuhe said Nyanza and Western provinces are the most notorious in reported cases of abandoned children. She decried the trend of abandoning special needs children some of whom in spite of receiving publicity at every parade, have not been claimed by anyone.

"We are however grateful that the public is getting more enlightened and has been giving us positive information that is helping us trace some of these irresponsible parents," she said.

Munuhe called on the police to arrest unscrupulous people who take advantage of distraught families by trying to extort money from them under the pretense of having information that can help in their rescue. She urged member of the public who have lost a child to come to the centre personally so they can identify their loved one.

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