There are anywhere between 25,000 – 50,000 youth living on the streets of Kinshasa. According to UNICEF, girls comprised 44 percent of the population of street children.
As young as 3 years old, these children end up on the street for various reasons including abandonment, the loss of one or both parents, accusations of sorcery or witchcraft by family members and children who are offspring of young street adults.
Known as “shegues”, these children suffer extreme hardship and exposure to daily violence. Without family care and support, they are victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. These children are left with no secure access to food, shelter, or other basic needs. They are exploited by adults, including law enforcement personnel, who use them for illegal activities to the detriment of their health and welfare and in violation of their basic human rights.
Farms for Orphans plans to begin a program to provide training in insect farming and other agricultural practices to Kinshasa’s street youth, giving them a means to support themselves. Our goal is to purchase a piece of land, where we will build the infrastructure to house youth by providing them with food security and a place of refuge while they receive training.