We believe that one of the best ways to connect with street boys is to meet them where they actually live....on the streets. 3 days a week, our staff conducts programs on the street. The programs consist of a time of play, a life lesson, a devotional and time of prayer and, lastly, breakfast. These outreaches give our staff the opportunity to connect with the boys in small group settings and encourage them to leave behind the street life and return to their families.
Twice a week we open the doors of our day center in the city for the street boys to join us. On these days, the boys receive 2 nutritious meals. They are able to wash their clothe and shower - things that are sometimes hard to do on the street. The boys have the opportunity to participate in literacy classes and they are giving time to play soccer and checkers. Our day center serves as a safe place where the boys can drop the tough act they often have to carry on the streets and just be kids for a few hours. During our time with the boys on these days, our staff has the opportunity to continue getting to know the boys individual stories and encourage them to return to their families.
Catembe is the name of the neighborhood where we run a transitional home. When a street boy decides that he is ready to leave behind the street life and return to his family, he enters into the Catembe Home for 3 months. During this time, he spends weekends visiting his family and then is back at the transitional home Monday-Friday. This home is designed to help the boys get use to having structure and responsibility again which is something they do not have on the streets. It also allows us to work with the families as they prepare to receive their sons back home.
Reintegration is the word we use for the process of helping a boy leave the streets to be reunited with his family. This happens in a couple of ways. Some boys pass through our Catembe reintegration housing. Other boys, especially those new to the streets, are often reintegrated right away, limiting their exposure to the street life. Boys that are 16 or older and have finally decided to leave the streets will often choose to rent a house rather than go return to their families. All boys that are reintegrated by Masana receive Christian counseling both for themselves and their family members to help work through the issues that caused them to run away from home. We also make sure that boys have the opportunity to return to school and, when possible, learn a job skill.
For boys that are close to 18 years old, the idea of simply going back home and being another mouth to feed is not very appealing. We try to help these boys learn some type of vocation or job skill so that they can go back home as contributing members of their families or rent their own home. We partner with local schools, businesses, or professionals to teach the boys vocational skills that will hopefully lead to steady employment.