KINGS OF KIBERA
Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kibera is the second largest suburb in Africa. In this slum of shanty houses, it is thought that over a million people live in precarious conditions and extreme poverty. Violence and infectious diseases, like HIV, Malaria or tuberculosis are everyday struggles and are the main causes of the shockingly high rate of premature deaths. The situation is made worse by the lack of hygiene and clean water that renders the streets, along with the constant flow of residual waters and piled-up rubbish, almost unwalkable.
The Kenyan government does not seem to care much about this secluded part of the population nor any of the other marginalized parts of the country for that matter. Public entities, such as the often-corrupt police, do not venture into its labyrinths of metal and mud but numerous NGO’s have a presence here supporting health clinics, hospitals and schools.
The vast majority of the people live on less than one dollar a day and must struggle against a reality characterized by unemployment and a spiraling population. The women stand out in this daily fight as they take care of the children in the face of the all too common absence of the husband or father. As well as dealing with the domestic chores and the upbringing of the children, they try to earn some money and will frequently sell things in the streets. On average, each woman will have between 4 and 8 children, which makes paying for education almost impossible and most youngsters end up wandering the streets from which they have no hope of escaping.
Given the lack of food, education and health services, the future of those who live here is bleak. Nonetheless, in amongst the difficulties of the suburbs the people of Kibera fight on; finding ways to get by and managing to make a home of their slum.