Research done in the late 1990s indicating that there were more boys on the streets than girls saw an idea of feeding street boys in Nakuru initiated.
Through a small soup kitchen where street boys would be welcomed for a meal, the idea would later develop into a more elaborate project.
In January 2000, Street Children’s Assistance Network Nakuru was established with 100 street boys for a start.
Founding Trustee and Chairman of SCANN Mr.Shamsher Gilani in an interview said the main aim is to ensure education for the vulnerable street boys.
He however noted that for that to be realized there was need for shelter as well as food hence the establishment of the institution at Kisulisuli estate on the outskirts of Nakuru town.
“We started this to give these boys education. But even in doing so we needed to have shelter and food for them. We started with a soup kitchen project at first before it developed into this” said Shamsher.
The boys who study in different schools now have a place they can call home or perhaps a small heaven on earth where they come to after school
The SCANN centre according to Shamsher has continued to employ graduates to teach the boys so that they can get the extra basics after school.
With a fully equipped Library, sporting activities including acrobatics to keep them fit and ensure proper growth; this to the former street boys is just more than a home.
“We have a fully equipped Library where the boys can study. We also engage them in sports such as acrobatics to teach them how to trust each other and Karate as a discipline sport besides Football and volleyball” added Shamsher.
Since its establishment, SCANN centre has continued to accommodate all religions and this is evident from their library with various holy books.
However, the centre sits on a land that was leased by Salvation Army Church-Land that was initially used for a Polio project, reveals Shamsher adding that Salvation Army Church is also trustee and part of the Organization.
And with the current world where technology is taking over everything, SCANN has not been left behind.
The centre has a well-equipped Computer laboratory with a computer teacher employed who takes the boys through training in shifts.
“In the current world we believe technology is key hence set up a computer lab. We have employed a computer teacher who takes them through computer training in shifts. We regulate which sites they can access and not to access” said Shamsher.
There is also an Officer in charge employed by SCANN who lives in the compound throughout as well as a resident medical doctor with a little clinic for to take care of the boys on matters of health.
On matters of accommodation, the centre has three dormitories for accommodation with a house father (graduate teacher) to take care of the dorm and ensure discipline, takes roll call.
Here, Shamsher reveals their youngest boys have their own dormitory with a house mother to take care of them.
“Every child is taken care of in terms of beddings. We also have an employee in place who does sanitation” he said.
Some of the beneficiaries of SCANN who spoke to this writer lauded the centre for giving them hope.
Francis Thumbi who is now going on with his primary education courtesy of SCANN is grateful that his life has changed form that of street to now a comfortable one like any other child who has parents.
“SCANN has given me everything and I am now able to go on with my education” he said.
Similar sentiments echoed by Master Dristan who stated that his life was in a mess but after joining SCANN he has felt a home.
He lauded the centre for rejuvenating his dreams as far as education is concerned adding that he will do all he can to ensure the opportunity is fruitful.
“This is the best place to be for education. My life is now being transformed” said Master Dristan.
Patrick Omwenga-a primary school pupil At Kisulisuli Primary courtesy of SCANN, has a dream of becoming a Kenya Defense Force Personnel.
He believes with the assistance and conducive atmosphere at SCANN, his dream will one day come true.
“ I have always dreamt of becoming a KDF and with the opportunity given to me by SCANN from the streets I am optimistic” said Omwenga.
SCANN centre has seen great minds developed from street boys with some having gone up to Universities to a tune of Ksh.96 million.
“We have educated 48 boys up to university with full sponsorship to a tune of 96 million, clothing and all needs fully paid for. And when they come back as alumni they have their own Guest room where they can spend” Shamsher stated.
The 100 percent Charity project has also seen about 260 boys complete their stay up to O level having been under the centre for not less than 14 years.
However, not everyone can be accommodated at the facility as the focus is only on the most needy street boys who have no shelter.
According to Shamsher, for the last 20 years the centre has used an average Kshs.15 million per year.
Perhaps it is for such tremendous work that the centre received the Head of state commendation Award.
Shamsher’s appeal to the government is for private partners to be embraced in supporting and bridging gaps in various sectors.
“The government has a lot of challenges hence should embrace private partners and sectors in trying to address some of the challenges. Let the government recognize what the private sector is doing and make our work easier” he said.