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Mathare: Life in a Slum in Kenya

AFRICA SERIES : PART 8

Mathare, one of the oldest slums in Africa, lies on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. An estimated 700,000 people live here.

Mathare, one of the oldest slums in Africa, lies on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. An estimated 700,000 people live here.

Children living in Mathare come from very poor families, only a few attend school and the vast majority of their time they spend it on the street  / PHOTO: Andrea Arzaba

Children living in Mathare are born to very poor families. Only a few attend school and the vast majority of their time they spend on the streets.

The use of cell phones in informal settlements has become common practice. Some people make a living from charging cell phones.

The use of drugs and alcohol are common problems in this slum, young people are often recruited by drug dealing groups and sadly, they become part of this cycle of corruption and crime / Photo: Andrea Arzaba

The use of drugs and alcohol is a common problems in this slum. Young people are often recruited by drug dealing groups and become part of this cycle of corruption and crime.

Children lack of recreational facilities. One of the main reasons is the amount of space used as areas of open defecation, so children play near roads and sewers / Photo: Andrea Arzaba

In Mathare, just as in many other slums in Kenya, there is no garbage collection system. This means that people live in unhealthy environments and diseases such as malaria become are common causes of death among children.

Most people live on less than one dollar a day. It is also estimated that one of every three adults in Mathare has HIV/ Photo: Andrea Arzaba

Most people live on less than one dollar a day. It is also estimated that one of every three adults in Mathare is HIV-positive.

Today international organizations from all continents, especially North America and Europe, work in the slum with projects in education, technology, environment, health and culture of peace, among many other topics / Photo: Andrea Arzaba

Today, international organisations from all continents, especially North America and Europe, work in the slum with projects in education, technology, environment, health and culture of peace.

All photos by the author.

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About The Author(s)



Andrea Arzaba

Journalist

Journalist, interested in environment, culture and development. Blogger for different online publications such as Global Voices Online, Adopt a Negotiator and founder of The SunFlower Post project. Andrea has participated in international peace initiatives such as People to People’s Peace Camp, Clinton Global Initiative and in several World Youth Congresses. She has also been invited as a panelist on Journalism, Youth Leadership and Mexico in Montreal, Moscow and Quebec. Today she is finishing her last year on a BA on Communications, focusing on Journalism, and she is a freelance writer for National Geographic Traveler. She is based in Mexico City.

Comments (1)

  • Paula LeRoy

    This succinct, compelling, photoessay tell so much. The photos in themselves are artistic, and the message is unforgettable. I hope a follow up story can be about the NGOs and organizations that are trying to make changes, and if they are making an success.

    One that I know of is Hope to Shine.org that works to combat poverty in the Kibera slum area by supporting (1) the Kibera School for Girls and (2) the Women’s Income-Generating Empowerment Project, an initiative that combines income-generating projects with desperately needed community services.

    Reply

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