Simon began to attend the Stepping Stones Day Care Centre in March 2021 and it was soon obvious that he was profoundly deaf. He was unable to communicate apart from using various gestures and had no knowledge of any formal sign language.
He loved the centre. He joined in with all the activities, loved to play, and was always happy and smiling. For a time, we were unsure of how we could help him. Eventually, we were able to take him for hearing assessment, and from this Simon was put on the pathway towards registered disability which opened up doors for him. As he was unable to communicate, we had no way of knowing his real name, his story, his age, or anything at all about him. The hospital assessed his age to be around 15 years. To be able to access services, the charity manager took guardianship of him and Simon was taken into the foster family home.
Simon began boarding at a specialist school for the deaf in July 2021 where he began to learn literacy and numeracy, and of course, sign language. He has done so very well, progressing through the classes very quickly. He has been made a prefect, and recently took part in a national sports contest representing his school and winning several events. During the holidays he returns to the foster family home. As yet, he has declined to share any details of his past, but we hope as he continues to grow in confidence and security he will share his story with us.
Evans was one of the first boys to leave street life in 2014. He moved into the foster home and attended school, first primary, then High School. During his time in High School, we were able to reunite him with his parents and he spent a period of time with them whilst the charity continuing to support him educationally.
After High School, Evans was able to attend the Mombasa University to study a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and during this period he returned to stay in the foster family home. He has since finished his degree and is now living independently.
Michael joined the foster family home in 2021. He was 10 years old and hadn’t been living on the streets for very long when he began to attend the Stepping Stones Centre. His mum was an alcoholic and had given Michael to some neighbours to care for him, but he says they abused and beat him causing him to run to the streets.
The charity was informed that Michael was being targeted as part of a trafficking ring which was operating in Mombasa so the charity took him into the foster home and began to send him to school. Michael had never been to school so he is currently in a class with 7 year old children and doing really well.
Geoffrey was 17 years of age when he began attending the Stepping Stones Centre and had been on the streets for several years. He had given up hope of ever being able to go back to school, but Gap Kenya wanted to provide him with that chance.
He joined the Foster Family Home and started High School, completing this 4 years later. Geoffrey did better than expected in his final exams, and secured a place in a Teacher Training College here in Mombasa. He is now in his second year and loving every moment of it. During the holidays, Geoffrey helps out in both the Stepping Stones Centre and the Joseph Centre, teaching and joining in with various activities with the children. He is an amazing role model to the boys in Stepping Stones. You can hear him tell his own story by watching the video down below.
Naomi began attending the Joseph Centre early in 2020 aged 35y. Naomi had completed her primary education and then began work as a house help aged 14y. She met her husband and had three children, but then they fell on hard times. They eventually parted, and Naomi moved close to the Mwakirunge garbage dump to try to survive with her three children.
Naomi loved being in the centre and quickly learnt the tailoring skills. In 2021, Naomi was proficient enough to begin her own micro business in a nearby town, specialising in school uniforms for several schools in the area. Gap Kenya assisted her with her own sewing machine along with other materials she needed to begin. She now has her own small stall and is living independently, supporting herself and all three of her children.