After a quick visit to current partner Chisomo Children’s Club and a couple of network meetings with other interesting organisations in Lilongwe, most of the time was spent on the streets of Blantyre. Blantyre is a city located in the south of the country and is considered as the economical capital of the landlocked country. In this city, the organisation Step Kids Awareness (STEKA) is running a home for about 74 vulnerable children.
STEKA was founded in 2007 by Godknows Maseko and his wife Helen with the goal of removing children from the streets and protecting them from the abuse faced by many living in poverty and on the streets. All of STEKA’s children receive an education and Godknows and Helen are determined to ensure that the girls receive an equal education and opportunities as the boys, which is vital in a country with one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world and where girls are more likely to be illiterate than boys.
Godknows - having lived a life on the streets himself - understands how to transform things for these children. He wants to offer these kids more sustainable futures by developing a STEKA Village consisting of workshops to teach life-changing vocational skills and facilities to provide psychosocial support. It will also focus on empowering young people to get their voices heard in a youth forum aimed at lobbying for marginalized children’s rights in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
On the last day of the prospective visit, I sat down with Godknows to talk shortly about the context of street-connected children in Blantyre and about a potential collaboration with Mobile School.