The FEAR of being injected, which they say may be poisonous, has made female street children become parents at a young age. It is sad that many even before reaching the age of 18 years of entering adulthood, they have already given birth to two or more children.
Those children who are not fortunate enough to get an education in Eldoret, most of them have had more than three children. There is a 14-year-old girl who is one of the 46,639 children living in the neighborhood, with three children and avoids using birth control, fearing that she might be killed.
“I have three children because, to be honest, I could not avoid these young men among us. Every time we slept together… they force you and they can’t listen to you,” says the girl.
She also explains that apart from fear, stigma makes them feel inferior when seeking treatment in hospitals.
“I don’t trust those hospitals. Doctors and nurses don’t like us sheriffs,” he says, referring to chocora. “I was born in a noble family and I didn’t like living here. Mother and father were ‘sheriffs’. I don’t know what killed the mother? I was left by my five siblings. Here in the street I have been beaten, sexually abused and now I have three children. May God help me,” she opens.
And another 16-year-old girl is already a mother of four children. “I came from Kitengela where I was staying with my stepmother. I boarded trucks that brought me to Eldoret town. Here I met the ‘sheriff’ who directed me,” says this second girl.
A non-governmental organization called Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) is at the forefront of highlighting the plight of these girls. Dr. Sylvester Kimaiyo says some children report to the center to get medical help.
“We receive more than 64 children wandering the streets every day, affected by AIDS virus as well as those who receive contraceptive injections. But most of them are afraid to come for treatment because they feel that they are stigmatized,” explains Dr. Kimaiyo.
Dr. Kimaiyo says that doing this work with young children has its importance.
“It’s good to work with children because when you show them up close, they open up and explain what they’re going through and it’s easy to know how to help them unless they’re being bullied and most of them keep quiet and you can’t tell quickly,” he explains.
In addition, he explains the challenge he faces from working with young children, is the lack of understanding of many family planning issues.
Dr. Kimaiyo has explained to press most of these children have no education regarding the importance of family planning. This situation has made many of them refuse to be injected, saying that it might be a medicine to kill them.