Developments at the Drop-In Centre

Working with street children has always been at the heart of Mercy in Action’s vision and it remains our strongest link to the most vulnerable children and their families.

The drop-in centre building is used daily (except Sundays) from 07:00 to 17:00. The main activities that run are for the street kids; games, arts & crafts, basic literacy and numeracy lessons, hot meals and showering facilities. However, the centre is also home to our medical clinic, a small office for our social worker to operate from and a kitchen area in the garden where volunteer parents make the 300+ daily lunches for the children enrolled on out schooling programme.

The building being used was proving to be too small to meet these needs without causing disruption. With this in mind, the hunt started for a space that would offer us the flexibility to run multiple activities concurrently. We needed somewhere that could provide a place for the preparation of meals, a space for the medical clinic to operate from, a dedicated room for the social workers to work, space for a classroom, plenty of outside space for play and if possible somewhere we could provide overnight accommodation. What a dream it would be to find somewhere that would allow us to provide round the clock access for street kids to come and receive help, care and education.

After much scouring of the local neighbourhoods we came across a site that used to be an old shoe factory! The property has enough accommodation to meet the goals we have and has enough room to allow us to develop and expand the services provided at the drop-in centre.

The site is large! Half an acre on an L shaped plot with a bungalow, a large warehouse/factory unit and plenty of covered areas outside that we can use.

The bungalow will be used to accommodate the drop-In kids. It has a large open plan room to use for activities and games, 2 large rooms leading off here, a potential classroom and a quite room for resting. As well as a kitchen area and bathroom plus separate accommodation for resident caretakers.

The grounds are big enough for separate areas for the kids to play safely outside and enough covered areas for our volunteer cooks to prepare the lunches for the children on the schooling programme. Perhaps we could even grow some of our own vegetables and keep some chickens?

The old factory/warehouse will, in time, provide space for our medical clinic, offices for our social workers and space for larger gatherings (like our Source Groups) and meetings. There is plenty of storage space so that we have flexibility of use and peace of mind that our equipment will be kept safe.

The new premises offer us the scope to develop and improve the services we currently provide. The buildings are structurally sound but they do need some work to make it fit for purpose; some painting and minor repairs to the bungalow will bring it up to standard but the factory/warehouse will need bigger structural changes to make it work for us.

The Drop-In team, led by Chinwin our nurse, moved over to the new site at the beginning of January. Our team is working hard to set up the bungalow so that it is fully operational by the end of the month. We will be following this story over the next few weeks to show the progress and developments that are being made… keep an eye out for our updates!

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