NGO Council plans nationwide census of beggars and hawkers

A beggar on a Nairobi street

By Jackson Kairu

Following widespread claims that some unscrupulous people were using disabled beggars some with children strap on their backs to beg on the streets of Nairobi, the NGO council has announced plans to hold a nationwide census of all disabled people in the country, starting with Nairobi.

NGO Council chairman, Stephen Cheboi said through a press statement that reports reaching the board had raised the stakes on the welfare of disabled people begging and their alleged “able-bodied sponsors” who must be held to account.

Cheboi warned that the council was aware of the elements and was working closely with state security agencies to expose the “ruthless cartels” exploiting disabled people

The board, he said, was further aware of some “briefcase NGO’s” which were not registered and were masquerading as welfare associations for the disabled when their sole purpose is to “reap where they have not sown”. “They claim to be catering for the welfare of the disabled people yet had made millions for personal gain while duping foreign donors,” he said.

NGO Council of Kenya chairman Mr Stephen Cheboi

Cheboi warned that the council was aware of the elements and was working closely with state security agencies to expose the “ruthless cartels” exploiting disabled people. He said the census would seek to establish the nationality and location of the disabled beggars and who their immediate family contacts are and where they can be found.

Cheboi raised the red flag on donors being duped by briefcase NGOs that guzzle all the money meant for disabled people’s welfare saying it “was criminal to enrich able-bodied people from funds meant for the disabled.” He said the board had all details of legitimate bodies dully registered and that before any funds are disbursed by donors and state agencies, they should compare notes with the council.

He said the census would also target disabled hawkers to provide material and legal support citing recent cases in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu of hawkers being badly mishandled by county askaris. He said it was disturbing and unacceptable to see children at tender age running around busy Nairobi streets begging adding that it had to be stopped.

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