By PHOEBE GWANGILO
NEGLIGENCE is the main reason behind youths resorting to criminal activities, the director of Urban and Rural Youth Development Foundation says.
“This group of young people – from ages 14 to 35 – have been victims of negligence in their community where they have been deprived of education, shelter, food and other needs which make them feel rejected and unloved,” Janet Benabo told The National yesterday. She said they stole because of hunger and they could not get a job because they left school in early grades.
Benabo said those youths were identified when URYDF coordinated a poultry project initiated by Department of Justice and Attorney-General (crime prevention and restorative justice branch) targeting youths in communities to avoid crime.
“We learnt that they have network and they were categorised under A, B and C grades in which A grade are the older and hard-core ones,” she said.
Benabo said when the department of justice engaged URYDF in March to pilot the project, its staff went into different streets of Morata and had discussions with the hard-core ones.
“We went to the hotspot crime areas in the community and spoke with them and we found out that they had no money to feed themselves, cloth themselves and support themselves or their families so they did unlawful things to survive,” she said
“We then told them that the government is here to help you and we have the opportunity to deliver the service, training or whatever that you need to improve your lives and become better individuals in your communities.”
Benabo said many of them shed tears and for the first time felt that they had hope when they heard that news.
“Today over 80 youths in Morata are involved in raising and selling chicken and have also branched out to selling food and beverages.”
Benabo said the number of serious crimes had dropped since March, it’s only social problems such as alcohol and drug related (remain).
She said the only challenge URYDF was faced with life skills and financial literacy.
By PHOEBE GWANGILO