World news story

High Commissioner opens new home for street children in Gilgil, Kenya

British High Commissioner, Dr. Christian Turner, opens a new school in Gilgil for vulnerable and homeless street children

High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner presents Mary Coulson of Restart Africa with a certificate of recognition

The British High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr Christian Turner, opened a new school in Gilgil, Nakuru for vulnerable and homeless street children on Saturday, 25 May. The home, run by local charity Restart Africa, will provide refuge for over 100 boys and girls who are desperately in need. The new facility provides a safe environment for the children, aged from 4 months to 23 years, to learn and grow. It comes complete with a computer lab, four classrooms, nursery room for the youngest, a dining hall and dorm rooms.

This is one of the latest step in the partnership between the UK, Kenyan authorities and NGOs to protect vulnerable children in Kenya, and follows the January launch in Kenya of the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC). The culmination of many months of close cooperation between between UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and Kenyan partners, the ICPC enables any Kenyan organization considering employing UK nationals to request a UK police check – at the applicant’s expense.

The British High Commission has been working very closely with Restart since the NCA uncovered a British child sex offender, Simon Harris, living amongst the community in Gilgil in 2013. Using the cover of a children’s charity he sexually abused many street children over many years. Harris was ultimately convicted after a groundbreaking trial, which saw Kenyan witnesses give evidence via satellite link, an unprecedented level of cooperation between UK and Kenyan law enforcement agencies. Harris is currently serving 17 years in a UK prison, and will never be allowed to work with children again. All Harris’s victims are now being cared for by Restart, and have secure home, food, education, love and stability.

Speaking at the opening, Dr. Turner said:

Maintaining the security of our children must be our most honest and worthwhile endeavour. We believe that our responsibility to protect children from abuse does not stop at the borders of the United Kingdom. That is why we are working in partnership with Kenyan authorities, and wonderful organizations like Restart, to ensure that children have the chance to learn and grow in the safest environment possible

Photos of the opening ceremony

Published 25 May 2015