Boys – The Broken Pillar

Men are pillars of the society. Men give protection, lead and give security. With this in mind we never realize that men also need protection. Our society today is protective of the girl child. Boys are merely neglected yet they need protection as the girl if not much more. Young male children must be raised, guided, and disciplined. They need security that is provided by both their parents and the society.

In Kenya today, many boys are penurious through various ways which include:

  • Dropping out of school: Though the number of boys registered in school is relatively higher than that of girls the rate of school dropouts in boys cannot be ignored.
    • In areas where parents value basic educations here are higher chances of boys dropping out compared to girls. Many children lack parental guidance. Due to peer pressure and lack father figures boys end up dropping out of school. Lack of father figures, one may ask. Children mainly from poor families have fathers who are alcohol and drug users. Many locally brewed substances are available at low costs in the village. Many young men end up in the illicit brews dens and drink all day. The money they make is all drained in alcohol. These are the father figures young boys have to look up to.
    • The other reason for school dropouts is the lack of school fees. As much as the school fees is highly subsidized in Kenya by the government offering free primary and secondary education there are several school needs that are not included in the free education scheme. School going children must have school uniform and have writing materials which, if not provided result to missing school days and eventually dropping out.
    • Young boys from pastoral communities drop out of school to follow rites of passage. In rural Kenya boys go through rites of passage into adulthood and immediately take on more responsible roles including starting up a family.
  • Drug abuse: Drug abuse is rampant among adolescents. Peer pressure often found fault. Young male children are introduced to drugs at a young age and mostly to smoking. Smoking boys are heroes in their peer group. To keep up the status and pressure many boys start smoking and are eventually introduced to hard drugs as marijuana. When you start doing drugs, addiction is paramount; you become a slave to the drug. All your income and energy is directed to the drugs and their availability leading to lack of self-worth and eventually death because of drug overdose, diseases or suicide.
  • Absent parents: When parents are absent through, divorce, death or at work, children lack security. Men give protection. A boy whose father is absent, ends up feeling compelled to protect his siblings and his mother. With no father figure to look up to and guide, the boy grows up in a wayward character has no morals since he does not trust his mother guide the man in him. When he is a full-grown man, he cannot offer protection neither security for he was not protected neither given security.
  • Grow up with uncertainties: When parents separate children mainly blame themselves for the breakup. Boys carry the burden in their minds of filling the gap left by their father. Their siblings look up to them for provision. Boys become victims of circumstances and end up doing anything including joining gangs. Others in pastoral communities are obliged to take care of livestock at an early age and miss out school and being children as they take on more responsible roles. They grow up not finding, themselves and discovering who themselves.
  • Most aid and donor funded organizations focus mostly on girls. Many schools that offer a home environment are girl oriented. Female children get protection from early marriages, sexual abuse and female genital mutilation (female circumcision). Many boys who make the young girls pregnant are required to marry the girls or take-up the duty of rearing the children while still in their teenage. In many cases of teenage pregnancy, female children are given counselling and the boys are exposed to stigma. When we concentrate so much on the girls at the cost of the boy, the question is who will marry the nurtured girls if the boys are not nurtured

In protecting the future generation we need a holistic approach to protecting our children. Boys the pillars of tomorrow, protect them today.