The government of Kenya presented an award to Sister Winnie Mutuku, DC for her work that involved providing food to street children during the emergency created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sister Winnie was one of the persons who received the Uzalendo Award. This news was announced on June 1 and the award was given to those individuals who assisted the country in confronting the pandemic.
Sister stated that the award “was totally unexpected … we are not doing anything extraordinary with the children who are living on the street. Everything that I do as a Daughter of Charity does not merit some award from the State”.
Sister founded the Upendo Street Children Project which is focused on restoring dignity to children living on the street, educating them and, where possible, reuniting them with their family.
In April, in dialogue with the AIC (the International Association of Charity) in Africa, Sister explained the challenges that street children face in the Diocese of Kitale where she ministers. People live under a curfew that is characterized by police brutality against those people who live on the street.
A group of ten children was forced to hide in the woods that surround the village in order to avoid being beaten by the police.
Sister explained: “No one respects these children and when they are seen by the police or a patrol during the hours of the curfew, they are beaten. Therefore, these children go into the forest at night and come back to the streets during the day.”
Accompanied by other members of the Upendo Project, Sister gives food to the children on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays … they are given enough food for the other days when that food is not distributed. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Sister Winnie visits the children she was able to reunite with their families.
Sister also stated that she was able to distribute food on the grounds of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, where children can eat under a roof and thus, are protected from the sun and the rain. There are other concerned adults who will, at different times, provide these children with food.
Sister also stated: “Now we can only provide these children with food, but our goal goes beyond food. We want to transform their lives. We want to give them a family. We want to impact their lives because we believe that they do not belong on the streets.”
Sister Winnie said her greatest wish is to see these street children in a permanent residence where they can then be formed and educated.
Translated and adapted by Walter Sánchez Silva. Originally published on ACI África