Watoto Mtaani

street kids living in Kisenyi Slum, jackie Wolfson co-founder of Shule Foundation

Watoto Mtaani 

Asiyeonekana watoto mtaani means invisible street kid in Swahili ... and we believe that no child should be invisible.

In an effort to get kids off the streets, Shule Foundation has opened our first rehabilitation center in Uganda.

Kisenyi Slum is one of the largest slums in central Kampala. The children living on its streets are some of the most marginalized in the world. Abhorred and mistreated, they are vulnerable to physical, mental and sexual abuse, and many turn to substance use to dull the pain and simply put, "to forget." These invisible children sleep on the ground under makeshift shelters, eat only what they can scavenge, and lack access to even the most basic services — including showers, which cost money.

Your support allows us to give these children their childhood back. 

Just $75 allows a street kid to shower for a year.

Uganda has one of the largest populations of young people in the world. 48.5% of its 41 million people are under the age of 15. Making up the largest demographic group living in poverty within the country. Poverty, combined with neglect and sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse, are the leading factors why children leave home to live on the streets. Convinced it will somehow be better---they quickly learn it’s not.

An estimated 10,000 children live on the streets, Shule works with the most at-risk children living in Kisenyi. We provide outreach, rehabilitation services, counseling, medical care, sponsorship, and family reconciliation to some of the most marginalized children in the country.

Our Facility and Programs

Our 10 bedroom rehabilitation center will act as an interim house and bridge between street and home life, providing the necessary timeline for each individual child to begin healing from the trauma of street life and substance use. Our center will be home to 20 girls and boys ranging in age from 6 to 19 years old, for a period of 3-4 months each. During that time the children will detox, re-adjust to living in a structured environment, receive counseling, medical treatment, lots of love and encouragement from our highly trained staff which consists of a social worker, educator, medical practitioner and a loving house mother.

Street Visits 
Our team participates in street visits several times a week to engage with the street kids and identify new arrivals. During these visits we interact with the children one-on-one, discuss children’s rights, offer counseling, medical care, pay for them to shower and deliver food..

Rehabilitation and Counseling
Our social workers will work with the children who are temporarily living with us, providing them with counseling and guidance, both as a group and on an individual basis. They will discuss issues such as substance use, peer influence, HIV/AIDS, problems at home, and conflict resolution.

Our program tackles the major problems of hopelessness, impulsivity, anxiety issues and emotional instability among the children. These are problems most often found in children engaging in substance use. We will motivate, encourage, and instill self-belief in the children.

Outreach, Family Counseling, Resettlement, Reconciliation
Family reunification and resettlement is integral to our program. We take children off the streets and instill a sense of belonging, treating each case as unique and tailoring our work to the individual. Through family mapping and interviews we will identify the best caregiver to ensure a safe and loving home.

Emergency and Medical Care
Exposed to violent, harmful and unhealthy situations, children turn to substance use to reduce pain. We will liaise with doctors to facilitate minor surgeries to treat septic wounds, deep cuts, jiggers, and chronic illnesses. Our nurse practitioner will examine kids for substance use and diseases. All children will receive HIV/AIDS testing and deworming.

Education Sponsorship
Education is the cornerstone of our program — lack of access to proper schooling is a key factor in children remaining in street life. Our goal is to spark interest in learning, build fundamental skills and help navigate their path to a better future. Upon completion of our program, we will assist each child in sponsoring their education.

Beyond the Center

We started on the streets and we will remain working with the children still on the streets. Our outreach program will continue to provide street kids living in the slum with:

  • medical care
  • weekly meals
  • guidance and mentoring
  • youth-initiated support groups
  • sensitization on the dangers of substance use
  • access to daily showers with quality skincare products

Our primary goal for street children is resettlement into their home communities with access to education. Join us in giving these children back their childhood.

Meet the kids whose lives you can change forever by partnering with us