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Environment

Education

Is Kamkunji grounds
slowly becoming a
dumpsite?

The challenges of informal schools
in slums

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August 2015 Issue

Ghetto Mirror

ISSUE 20

Real life stories from slums

Ghetto Mirror

ghettomirror@shininghopeforcommunities.org

Lindi-Pesa
Living | Lindi Business Network launches Kibera’s first ever community currency

Fourth community currency in
the nation after
Bangla-Pesa,
Gatina-Pesa and
Kangemi-Pesa
but the first of
its kind in Kibera
By Vincent Baraza

Kibera’s Lindi village is set to have
its own currency known as Lindi Pesa that
is meant to help locals conduct daily business
transactions
amongst
themselves.
Although it’s not a government recognized currency, one of Lindi Pesa’s main goals
is to boost small scale businesses and help young
entrepreneurs by creating an easier and cheaper
platform for exchange of goods and services.
Ann Wamboi, Lindi Pesa’s program coordinator, says the currency is going to help
small scale businesses sell excess stock and

continues on page 3

SHOFCO Gender development department

Gender & Sexual violence

Call:
- 0703 445 737 - KIBERA
- 0720 852 920 - mathare

............

Referals
Rescue centre
Psychosocial support services
Link to legal assistance
Medical assistance

Ghetto Mirror | 2

ISSUE:20
AUGUST 2015

TALKING POINT
Girls and Women
forced to sell their
bodies to survive

We welcome letters on topical issues on the stories we publish and
comments on ghettomirror@shininghopeforcommunities.org.
You can also drop them in our offices at Gatwekera near PAG church.

Water ATM

Kibera is notoriously known as the largest slum in Africa, home to more than one million people. Whether or not this almost slogan is true, the fact is that Kibera is a humungous slum
with too many people living in a deplorable conditions, largely ignored by the Kenyan government and hustling to survive. One
of the ways residents are forced to survive is through prostitution.
In informal settlements, girls as young as nine years old are
forced to start selling sex for food or money. Often times, you will
find that their parents know about this and either encourage it or
look the other way. Others see it as beneficial because they can earn
enough to survive. However, a lot of young girls and women may earn
as little as Ksh.20 or a plate of chips from the street food vendors.
16-year-old Charity (not her real name) got into the business
after her parents died and she went to live with her aunt. Achieng’
says, “ I was forced to leave school and was treated as a house help
at my aunt’s house where my uncle often molested me.” This abusive environment made her run away and become a prostitute to
survive. When asked whether she has or would consider other options, Achieng’ said. “Leaving this business is not as easy as some
people think it is because it has become our way of surviving.”
Besides the disgrace and possible danger that these girls and
women face while selling their bodies, they face a huge risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and getting pregnant. A prostitute may have as
many as five to ten partners in a day, sometimes without condoms,
and with no access to other forms of contraceptives. In fact, a lot
of girls and women that work in this industry most likely do not
have access to information about sexual and reproductive health.
Despite the prevalence of prostitution in slums, people are reluctant to talk about it and the issue is still treated as a taboo topic.It’s time people let go of the stigma about this topic and start
talking about it, that way, solutions to this problem may be found.

Quote of the Month

Do it now.
Sometimes ‘later’
becomes ‘never.’
Joel Brown
A publication of Shining Hope For
Communities
Editor

Liz Mahiri

Illustrations
Oscar Chitiavi

Contributors

Johnston Mutua, Michael Ogutu, Namayi Kefa,
Sylvester Oluoch, Vincent Baraza, Erick Ouma,
Dorothy Orinah, Eunice Otieno, Kevin Ochieng’, Felix
Omondi, Ammbrose Pascal & Brian Okinda

Technical Assistance

Albanous Gituru & Lily Bullitt
E-mail:ghettomirror@shininghopeforcommunities.org

Fear over cats’ behavior in Kibera
Cats are equally loved
or hatedin Nairobi. However,
in Kibera, there’s been a lot of
controversy over some of the
behavior that cats exhibit that
have left people perplexed and/
or fearful of these ‘domesticated’ animals.
One such incident caused
drama at Karanja road in Kibera
when a cat jumped over someone’s head and over a matatu.
The cat’s actions caused a stir
with witnesses and bystanders
arguing over whether this was
normal or not.
A lot of people who live
in Kibera come from rural areas where people generally
treat cats as domestic animals
that help to keep snakes and
rats away. However, many of
these people that have now
moved to Kibera are starting to
think differently about cats in
the slum.
That many of the cats in
the slum do not eat rats or food
that has been left out increases

people’s doubt about the nature
of these cats. Roselyn Anyango, a Kibera resident adds that,
“Instead, they can even remove
hot food from the fire and eat
all of it then cover your sufuria
the same way you had covered
it.”
Anyango says that she
has witnessed a lot of strange
behavior from cats in the slums
from the time she lived in
Kariobangi to when she moved

to Kibera. She thinks that Kibera cats are worse than those
of other slums as they seem to
be more advanced in unnatural
behavior. “I am tired of these
cats…if there can another
place where these cats could
be dumped, I would find peace
because instead of talking
with my children, I am always
talking and quarreling with the
cats,” said Anyango.
Another more conten-

tious behavior from slum cats is
the sound they produce, that at
times, sounds like a baby crying. Winnie Achieng’, another
Kibera resident says, “Since I
gave birth, there’s been a cat
that imitates my baby. When
the baby cries, the cat meouws in the same way the baby
cries, when the baby is silent,
the cat is also silent.” A lot of
people in the slum say that
they have heard cats meowing
in the same way a baby would
cry. Some people believe that it
is a bad omen when a cat imitates a baby like this, and that
something bad may happen to
the baby.
Such behavior, some residents believe, is quite unnatural and unnerving for cats. This
has led to a widely held belief
that many of the cats in the
slum are not real and that they
may be jinnis.

Eunice Otieno

ISSUE: 20
AUGUST 2015

one on one

Ghetto Mirror | 3

Buju

By Andy Wanga
Who is Buju?

Buju is my nickname that comes
from the name Bujumbura. My real
name is Austin Ogote.
I was born onMay 23, 1988. I am
a young talentedartist, comedian
and an M.C of events and shows.
I usually do stand up comedy on
the show “Jalango with the Money” that airs every Sunday from
8:00p.m. on K.T.N, sometimes
I’m the master of ceremony for the
show when Jalango is not around.
I also do stand-up comedy on
“Kenya Corner.”

His fans usually see him
on Television on K.T.N
hosting the show “Jalango
with the Money.” He also
features in“Kenya Corner”.
Ghetto Mirror reporter,
Andy Wanga, caught up
with him to share some of
his life story.

Share with us your upbringing.

I was born in Kibera and raised by
a single mother.
I went to Langata Primary School,
finished my Kenya Certificate of
Primary Education and joined Flori
High School where I did my Kenya
Certificate of Secondary Education
examination.

What inspired you to get into
comedy?

I tried out singing dancing and acting but faced challenges like lack of
studio money, no dance group was
willing to take me in and eventually
I gave up on this fields.
There were auditions for“Kenya

Corner Comedy” at Carnivore,I
went and auditioned and luckily I
got in.
I started doing stand-up comedy
at Kenya Corner and after a while,
Jalango invited me to his Show.

Auditions for stand up comedy
take place when and where?
Auditions for “Jalango with the
Money” usually take place at the
K.T.N building.
Auditions for “Kenya Corner” are
held at Carnivore grounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00pm.
Any artist who believes in theirtalent can come for the auditions.

Which is your biggest shows
you have ever performed?

I have performed on various shows
but my biggest show was when I
performed for Safaricom’s C.E.O,
Bob Collymore along with Churchill.
Another big show was performing
for the governor of Kiambu County,
William Kabogo.

Which show do you rely on
more financialy,“jalango with
the money”” or “kenya corner”?

Eh that’s a hard question to answer
but I’ll just say that it’s“Jalango
with the Money” because at that
show, I have different roles as I am
an M.C and a stand-up comedian.
But on “Kenya Corner,”I am only a

stand-up comedian.

Words of advice to slum
youth?

First,I want to say that they should
say NO to drugs.
Secondly, anyone that has a talent
should strive hard to put the talent
into good use.
All young people should keep
themselves busy so as to avoid getting caught up in drugs and crime.
There are a number of activities
that young people can participate in
where they can discover or nurture
their hobbies and talents.
Youth should try their luck because
they never know what is ahead of
them.
I can conclude by also saying that
in anything they do they should put
God first.

Last words you would like to
share?

Ihave a big youth group that nurtures the talents of different artists.
The youth group is located along
LainiSaba in Mashimoni.This youth
group was started on 2006 and
through this group, many artists
have been able to make use of their
talents.
Smart Joker,Mammito, Nick D,
Geoffrey Oyoo, etc. The youth
group is called Group Youth Foundation (GYF).I encourage all those
people whowant to nurture their
talents to try out GYF.

Lindi launches Kibera’s first community currency
from page 1
render services to customas well as increase sales.
“Small business owners depend on each other for purchasing
goods and services to meet their daily needs and during hard economic
times, businesses still have goods
and services to offer,” Wamboi said.
“But they lack cash to do so, that is
why we are introducing Lindi Pesa
that will act as a medium of exchange
among Lindi people,” she added.
The currency system was invented in the U.S.A. as a pilot program and
upon its success, it was introduced in
South Africa with the aim of promoting business and entrepreneurial endeavors within certain communities.
It first premiered in Kenya as
‘Bangla Pesa’ in 2010 when it was
rolled out in three villages in Mombasa, Shauri Yako, Mazi Mmoja,
and Kisumu Ndogo. The initiative
has since gained ground slowly
but surely. Wamboi confirms that
the initiative is still functioning.
The Lindi Pesa currency works
on a member and voucher system
in which vouchers represent a certain amount of money and only
registered members are allowed
to access and utilize the currency.
The lowest Lindi Pesa amount is
ers

Dagorreti North Constituency Member of Parliament Hon. John Simba Arati holding a
50 shilling voucher during the launch of Gatina-Pesa in Dagorreti constituency.

Photo | Google images

Ksh. 5 and the highest is Ksh. 200.
These vouchers should help
to ease the strain of daily business
costs while making it easier for business owners to save their national currency in order to grow their
stock and expand their businesses. The initiative will also give out
loans to help members with capital
and other business related expenses.

So far, the program that was
launched on 8th August has already
attracted more than 100 members and
the number will most likely increase as
there are those who have not yet qualified for membership as well as those
who still do not know about the system.
Wamboi also points out how the
benefits of this new currency could
have a huge impact on the econo-

my as it becomes more inclusive of
the greater economic community.
“Although the vouchers are
supposed to be traded among small
business members, it is also open
to those with big businesses since
we all need each other to grow. The
young entrepreneurs look-up to the
big ones for motivation, everyone
should be part of this,” Wamboi said.

To become a member, one has
to fill out a simple application form
that asks for personal details, the nature of their business, how long it has
run, the margin of profit and their dependents who can help with accountability. Additionally, one must pay
Ksh.100 as a one-time registration fee.
After one has been fully registered as a member, they
will receive a Lindi-Pesa voucher worth Ksh. 200 to start trading when it is officially launched.
As the initiative is still in its
early stages, the focus is currently
on raising awareness in order to inform and attract as many people and
businesses as possible. The initiative has already been met with positive responses in Lindi with a lot of
people eagerly awaiting its launch.
However, there are some who
doubt whether the system will be allowed in Nairobi since the government intervened in Mombasa by trying to ban the Bangla-Pesa currency.
However, the program’s coordinator
have their hopes high that it will work.
“If the people of Lindi understand the benefits of this thing,
they will all come on board as
this will help us uplift one another by boosting the businesses of
those involved.” Wamboi said.

Ghetto Mirror | 4

Pic Speak

ISSUE:20
AUGUST 2015
A full page of
pictures stories
from slum areas.

This artist creatively pleas to youth and drug
addicts to stop using drugs as it is not safe for
anyone.

Education is the key to success, reads a wall at a
public primary school in Soweto slum in Kayole.

Photo | Joseph Kinyua

Photo | Google

A Mathare resident lies on the ground after consuming too much alcohol.
The government is cracking down on illicit alcohol across the nation in
efforts to reduce, if not halt consumption of illicit alcohol as tons of people
lost their lives or their eyesight.

Photo: Joseph Kinyua

Photo | Google

This cart is apparently not just for transporting water, vegetables and
household items but can also ferry people from one point to another.
However, it is not clear whether the two were taking turns in pulling the
cart or the passenger had paid.

Photo | Joseph Kinyua

Being cautious, this man looks at the high crates
of buns he has stacked, perhaps to make sure he
delivers them in good quality.

A Lindi resident cutting the ribbon during
the launch of Lindi-Pesa on August 8th at DC
grounds in Kibera.

Photo | Joseph Kinyua

National Youth Service (NYS) youth cleaning up on
the streets of Kibera. This is one of the services they
offer in Kibera and other slums.
Photo | Google

Lindi residents holding hand bags branded Lindi-Pesa. The currency, which the first of its kind
in Kibera, will be launched in Lindi village.
Photo: Google Images

ISSUE:20
AUGUST 2015

Ghetto Mirror | 5

The war on illicit brew intensifies
By Felix Omondi

M

athare slum, which is
known as the national
brewery of chang’aa
has not been left behind in the currently raging war against illicit alcohol.
The area chiefs and the police have carried out raids on
many occasions in the area in
efforts to curb this problem.
But their efforts have seemed
futile because as soon as the police officers leave, business as
usual resumes as breweries reopen and production continues.
Hundreds of liters of chang’aa
and kangara have been seized and
poured and many have been arrested. Drums used to prepare
these illicit brews have been seized
by the police and taken away in

a bid to help fight this menace.
Bars and drinking joints have
been raided and property of unknown value destroyed. To date most
of spaces and structures that were
known for drinking remain closed
as the war on illicit brews rages on.
Despite the Chiefs’ and Polices’ claim that this crackdown is
for the benefit of residents, the residents have raised concern about
the approach this war is taking.
To residents, the war seems
to have changed course from fighting illicit brews in the area to focusing on the locals themselves.
The residents were particularly angered by a police operation
carried out on July 28 in the area.
On this day the General Service Unit of the police (GSU) conducted a community wide raid
that began in the wee hours of the
morning and lasted till mid-day.
Many residents who were

on their way to work were ambushed and forced to carry drums
of chang’aa to police vehicles.
Those who refused faced the
full force of the law. Some were
thoroughly beaten, others forced to
do silly things such as frog jumps
and press ups. They were humiliated in front of friends and family.
The raid moved from local
brewing dens to the locals’ homes.
Some houses were broken into as the
search for hidden alcohol went on.
Those who were found in other places like hotels were chased
away or thoroughly beaten up.
This left the residents with
many questions as to why they were
being treated as second class citizens.
The disputed raid seems to have
been carried out as a way to teach
the residents a lesson after Police
aborted a raid on 19 July after residents stoned and chased them away.
Many residents are in sup-

port of the war on illicit alcohol
but raise concern on the impact
this raid will have on their area.
Another
controversial
issue on the raids has to do with
the economic impact that this
huge industry has on Mathare.
Some residents pose the important question of what will happen to all
the people who work in the industry.
Others carry the view that other jobs related to this industry such as
prostitution will be on the rise as many
of the bar maids who work in the local bars will have nowhere to go to.
The rate of insecurity is also
expected to rise drastically as some
of the young men who worked in
this sector will now resort to crime
as a way of supporting themselves.
Moreover, with the decreasing job opportunities from the National Youth Services (NYS), they
will have nowhere else to channel
their energy into productive work.

Also, if this war on illicit alcohol
continues to take this approach, the locals are most likely to develop a hostile attitude towards the police service.
This hostility between the
locals and the police will create fear and mistrust which will
be a heavy blow on efforts to
make Mathare a safe environment.
This war illicit alcohol should
not only focus on production but
should also consider the consumers.
Many of the local drunkards
will have an extremely hard time trying to sober up as no rehabilitation
centers have been set up in or near
the area to try and help them out.
For an effective outcome, the
war on illicit alcohol should take
all these issues into consideration.
It should be fought on both
fronts, from the locals’ side to the
police side, in an inclusive, comprehensive and intelligent way
that can finally ensure victory.

Youth serving the community while making a living
By Kevin Ochieng’
Majengo, a Swahili word meaning buildings, is one of the biggest
slums in Nairobi county and home
to more than half a million people
according to the Kenya National
Bureau of Statistics data of 2010.
Over the year, the slum has been
associated with all sorts of negative
things from prostitution to drugs and
crime. But a group of youth have come
together to form a group that will help
rebrand the slum’s tarnished name
through income generating activities.
The group now known as the
Millennium Youth Group (MYG)
was founded in 2000 by 17 youth
with the aim of encouraging and providing young people to participate in
activities that are beneficial to themselves and the community as a whole.
Since 2000, the group’s mem-

bers have grown to 26 and MYG
has moved from being a mere selfhelp group to a government-registered association that is well-known
for the impact it has had in its area.
The group’s main activity revolves around sanitation
which includes clean-ups conducted on Wednesdays and Saturdays of every week. They also
supply clean water to residents.
A member who only identified himself as Charger says,” We
have employed seven people who
deliver water to residents.” “But
when the demand for the commodity rises they recruit more people
to help on supply,” Charger added.
Apart from sanitation and water services, the group also promotes
sexual health through the provision of
free condoms to Majengo residents as
most of them are engaging in sexual
activities without access to sexual and
reproductive health (SRH) services.
The group decided to start

this service as Majengo slum is
known as one of the most thriving
locations in Nairobi’s sex industry.
Mary Sanyu Osire, a self-proclaimed ambassador for social and
behavior change communication
in Africa working for Hifadhi Africa (an SRH organization), explains the reality of this situation.
According to Mary’s blog,
marysanyuosire.blogspot.com,
one
can easily spot a female sex worker in Majengo by the way a girl or
woman sits on a small, wooden stool
outside their house to symbolize that
they are at work. When a client approaches her, she follows him into
her house carrying the stool on hand.
To help with curbing the dangerous diseases that are caused by unsafe
sex, MYG also distributes condoms to
Majengo residents. Ali Ramadhan, a
MYG member says that they strategically put up condoms at toilet facilities
in various locations where people can
easily access them. Ramadhan posits

Slum youth celebrate International Youth Day
By Silvester Olouch
On August 12, youth from
slums celebrated International Youth
Day in style at the GoDown Art
Center located in South B Estate.
The event was organized in
collaboration with Nairobits, an
NGO that offers Information Communication Technology (ICT) classes to slum youth at highly discounted fees in an effort to improve their
ability to contribute to their socio-economic well-being through
creativity and innovation using ICT.
Nairobits works through slum
Community Based Organizations in
Nairobi and other slums in East Africa
and other places to offer ICT knowledge to otherwise vulnerable youth.
In Nairobi Nairobits has partnered with CBOs like Youth Initiative Kenya (YIKE) in Kariobangi,
SHOFCO in Kibera, Koch Hope in
Korogocho, Maji Mazuri in Mathare
and Mukuru Center in Mukuru
kwa Ruben to offer their courses.

The International Youth Day
event invited a guest panel that included the Assistant Chief who rebuked the
ill motives taken by young high school
students in immorality and drug abuse.
The chief pointed to a recent national-news-making incident in which high school students
were found with drugs and copulating on a public service bus.
In advising the youth on these issues -of drugs and sex-he used a phrase
that U.S. president Barack Obama on
his visit to Kenya stated; that the youth
are the eyes of future generation.
Another guest panelist, Maurice challenged slum youth to use
the internet in innovative ways to
solve slum problems and some of
the issues they face as slum youth.
He also encouraged them to read
youth-related articles such as The African Youth Chatter and the section of the
constitution that focuses on the youth.
He believes that such reading materials are good for youth
as it can guide them appropriately on how to help themselves.
Vincent Amayo, who was representing Kibra MP, Kenneth Okoth,

spoke about money issues and told the
youth not to complain about not getting access to the Kenya Youth Fund.
He also encouraged the youth to
pursue these funding opportunities that
are offered by the national government
by forming and registering groups.
To access these funds, he
said, “The group must have a
bank account which must be registered under the group’s name.”
In addition, he advised youth
about the bursary fund that helps
with financial aid for school fees.
Many other guests also spoke
and emphasized on the importance of
the youth to be more innovative and
entrepreneurial in helping themselves.
Many repeated the advice that
rather than waiting to be handed
jobs, youth should start small businesses by saving money and getting help from family and friends.
Many of the youth that attended the event said that they gained
a lot of knowledge from the panelists’ remarks. “This was a great
opportunity, I feel really inspired
and changed”, said Fellah Awaga, a
first course student with Nairobits.

that the sex industry is so large that
“there are no rape cases around this
area as there are women available for
sex and for as little as Ksh.20-100.”
Non-Profit
Organizations
like United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) a German corporation for international development, have stepped up
campaigns where commercial sex
workers are taught and given awareness on how to protect themselves.
Sex workers can also undergo
medical
checkups
every Tuesday for two hours.
While MYG members are happy about the progress they have made,
they still encounter a number of issues
that make their work challenging.
The lack of a proper sewage system means that the sewers will often
block or burst. The County Sanitation Department that is mandated to
deal with this issue often do not han-

dle this problem, forcing the MYG
clean-up crew to unblock sewers
themselves without the proper equipment and at the risk of their health.
MYG’s biggest challenge is
that most members take advantage and use some of their facilities
like toilets or bathrooms for free.
Alcoholism in the area also
causes a few problems because
drunkards tend to smear human
waste on toilet walls making it harder for the cleaners do their work.
Their biggest worry however, is caused by an elected politician who, they claim, wants to take
over their facilities. The politician
is also said to have grabbed a piece
of land where a toilet stood, and replaced it with a different structure.
Despite these challenges, Ramadhan and Charger are optimistic
about the fruition of MYG’s longterm goals to venture into housing projects and a biogas plant as
a way of increasing their income.

Ghetto Mirror | 6

ISSUE:20
AUGUST 2015

Society
Challenges of learning in informal schools
Topical stories on
daily happenings
in our society.

By Collince Ouma

K

ibera is quite a religious community with a
large number of Christians and Muslims alike. You can tell
based on the number of churches and
mosques that dot the congested slum.
On weekends, the churches are used as worshiping places
but during weekdays, these same
spaces are used as classrooms.
These churches that become
schools also host a lot of different activities whenever the space
is free such as watching football
matches and holding meetings.
The effect is that there is no
permanence of the school environment as things like chairs and desks
get rearranged, lost, or taken away.
A lot of these schools literally
have to be reorganized every day to
function as learning environments.
While this situation is not ideal,
Kibera does not have enough schools,
let alone enough spaces/structures
to house the schools that exist.
A majority of these schools
within Kibera are informal, meaning
that not only are they not recognized
by the government, they also lack
proper resources including the physical structure itself, teachers, books,
blackboards, chalk, desks, chairs, etc.

In fact, there are only four formal primary schools in Kibera namely,
Olympic, Kibera, Toi Market primary
schools and Raila Education Centre
with none of them found in the slum
but in the outskirts of Kibera slums.
As Kibera’s population is
huge, with school-aged children
making up a huge percentage of
residents, most of these schools,
whether they are formal or informal,
are overcapacity and overwhelmed
due to lack of resources and space.

Over crowded
For instance, Olympic Primary School has about 3500 students and although it is a public/
formal and government recognized
school, it is having a hard time handling this number of students without enough resources and space.
One of its biggest challenges is its lunch program; the
school consumes 10 bags of
maize and 2 bags of beans daily.
The
three
other
formal
schools are experiencing similar
challenges but informal schools
suffer from more than just overcapacity and lack of resources.
To begin with, that informal
schools are not recognized by the

government is a fact that threatens the existence of the schools.
The informality of a school
means that it can be shut down
at any time, causing all educational progress for the students to
come to a sudden halt, which has
its own set of dire consequences.
Informal schools also generally
experience the problems of overcapacity and lack of resources on a larger scale and on a more extreme level.
What’s more, most of these
schools can be demolished or evicted without notice or compensation
simply because of the informal status.
One such school, St. Juliet Educational Center, sits beside the railway
line and is facing this challenge as the
government and Kenya Railway Authority want to demolish it to create
space for railway constructions and to
avoid consequences of train accidents.
Parts of the school have
already been demolished because
of
this
development.
The school has 600 students, most of whom are orphans meaning that they can’t depend on school fees to survive.
The school is funded by sponsors
and well-wishers including Carolina
for Kibera and the government which
provides some kind of aid once a year.
Despite these funding options, the school is constantly suffering from lack of money. Mr. Jared

Omusula, the head teacher says that
although there is no set amount of
school fees, students are sometimes
required to bring Ksh. 200 to pay
for the cooks, electricity and water.
Due to the recent demolition
of parts of the school, the eldest 86
students attend class in the upstairs
section that is now extremely dilapidated, with no walls and no roof.
These students who are about to
take the National Kenya Certificate Primary Education (KCPE) exams, have
to endure both scorching sun and freezing rain as they attend their lessons.
Mr. Omusula the head teacher of this school says that he is
at a loss over what to do because
of the risk of further demolitions if the school tries to rebuild.

Lack space
“There is no space to construct other classrooms because
the
railway
company
wants
their land,” Mr. Omusula added.
Helen Atieno, a school manager in one of the informal schools that
was started in 2003 when a church’s
pastor agreed to let the space function as a school during weekdays.
But as time moved the church’s
management decided to charge Ksh.

3000 for used space per month.
“They don’t want to know
whether the pupils exist or not,
they want money at the end of the
month,” said Mrs. Helen.
The school has 200 students
and goes up to class 4. Ms. Atieno says that she can’t guarantee that
the school will expand its levels of
classes because of the uncertainty of
securing enough money and space.
A student from another informal school in Kibera’s complained that the quality of education they get is extremely low.
The student, who requested to remain anonymous, said that
although they pay less money,
they do not get quality education.
“In a week, a teacher may
come to class only twice a week
and still expect us to perform well
in exams,” said one of the students.
These students believe that
the teachers are not certified, and
probably only have secondary
school education, like themselves.
Atieno believes that this problem can be solved if the government
funded public schools or allocated
spaces and structures for schools.
She also thinks that the issue
of access to affordable and quality education is probably more important than the National Youth
Service (NYS) initiative and requires less effort and management.

Social entrepreneurship course helps youth be more self-reliable
By Felix Omondi

I

t’s a cold morning and a group
of more than 30 mentee’s are
making their way to the Ghetto Foundation premises in Mathare.
They are the 2015 mentees who
are enrolled in the Saunders Social
Entrepreneurship (SSE) program.
The SSE program began
in 2005 with a mission to uplift the lives of Kenyan youth and
their communities through sustainable social entrepreneurship.
Currently, the program is operating in Kibera and Mathare
slums. The Mathare offices also accept residents from other slums,
as far as Dandora and Lakisama.
The program works with students from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada
and Strathmore School of Business
in Kenya who act as facilitators.
In 2009, the program entered into
a partnership the Ghetto Foundation so
as to reach more people in the slums.
The program entails a five week
course that includes ten workshops
with lessons, activities, presentations and exercises. Throughout a
full course, participants learn how
to prepare business plans, source for
funds and manage the day-to-day

running of a business by studying
income statements and cash flow.
In its ten years of existence, a
total of 450 Kenyan entrepreneurs
have gone through
the program. Also,
a total of 80 undergraduate
and
MBA students from
the University of
British
Colombia
have
participated in the program.
This
year’s
program has the
highest number of
mentees with approximately
120
Kenyan entrepreneurs signed up
for the program.
Pastor Joshua, a mentee in the
program is thankful
for the opportunity
as entrepreneurship
and
self-employment seem to be the
government’s policy for dealing with
high unemployment
rates among youth
in the country. To
him, there is no better place for youths

in slum areas like these to learn
how to start and manage a business.
Pastor Joshua also challenges the
government to come
up and support business ideas that are
developed through
these programs by
offering grants and
loans that will enable these ideas to
b
e
come
reality.
19-year-old
Juliet (last name)
from
Mathare
who is also currently a mentee in
the program has
many praises for it.
“This
program is great, it
has expanded my
knowledge on business and as well
as helped me develop my business
idea just by hearing
from other people’s
experiences
and
ideas,” said Juliet.
Stephen Anaya, a graduate of
this program also
praised the initiative saying, “The

It also helped
me learn how
to set realistic
goals, plan
how to attain
these goals
and the actions to put in
place to make
sure I reach
these goals.

Stephen Anaya

program taught me that in order to
achieve my dreams of becoming a
social entrepreneur, I must be ambitious, hardworking and realistic,”
“It also helped me learn how
to set realistic goals, plan how
to attain these goals and the actions to put in place to make sure
I reach these goals,” he added.
Behind all the great praises offered by the participants are the facilitators who put a lot of time and
effort to impart their business knowledge to the mentees. One such facilitator is Brooke Allen, a professor of
graphic design at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Canada.
Brooke says that she was motivated to volunteer for the program
based on her belief that everyone
has the right to receive an education
no matter where in the world they
live or their status in society.
“I was motivated to come to
Nairobi, Kenya because as an educator, I believe everyone should have
access to education. Education creates
opportunity and I wanted to be part
of that and contribute,” Brooke said.
Despite the huge successes of
the SSE program, they continue to experience some challenges. One of the
greatest challenges is the high number of drop-outs among the mentees.
At the Kibera site, they had

an initial dropout rate of 29% after
first week and another 60% dropped
out by graduation. However, the
Mathare site’s initial dropout rate
was 5% after first week and another 62% dropped out by graduation.
In dealing with the high rates
of drop outs, the program has implemented a stricter application
system to ensure that they get serious and committed participants.

450

The total number
of youth who have
gone through the
Social Enterpreneurship Course
that has existed for
10 years.

ISSUE: 20
AUGUST 2015

Ghetto Mirror | 7

Health
‘Rich Man’s Disease’ crops up in slums
A once mobile
clinic offers
free treatments

World wide statistics show that there are over 387 million cases of diabetes. Only half
of the people diagnosed receive treatment. Out of this half, only half are happy with the
outcome of the treatment.
By Bill Clinton
Slum residents may be at a high
risk of contaminating what is popularly
known as ‘rich man’s’ diseases due to
the kind of lifestyles some of them lead.
This is after several health campaigns (held in July) that offered free
diabetes and hypertension tests discovered that quite a substantial number

of slum residents have these diseases.
Dr. Joram, a medical expert
on these diseases at African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) hospital in Laini Saba said
that these diseases are rapidly increasing not just in wealthy areas,
but in all types of places, including
slums because of the way lifestyle
changes have occurred over time.

Environment

He explained that these diseases are more prevalent because of the
types of food that we eat these days.
“Times have changes and we now
have lifestyles that contribute more to
these types of diseases,” said Dr. Joram.
He also said that foods with
a lot of fat, salt and sugar, in addition to alcohol, are the major
contributors of these diseases.

“As much as the body needs
these materials for its normal metabolic processes, the amount that we take
nowadays is unhealthy,” he added.
Except for a very few abnormal cases of infants born with these
diseases, almost no one is born with
lifestyle-influenced diseases. Therefore, people should be unexceptionally keen on the kinds of food they eat.
In doing so, Dr. Joram emphasized that parents should also be careful about the kinds of food they feed
their children as younger people are
easily attracted to these types of food.
He also advised that people should embrace the use of
cholesterol-free
cooking
oil.
Talking to one of the patients
at the waiting bench, Lillian from
Laini Saba, Kibera said that she was
found to have contacted the disease
[Hypertension] due to improper stress
management skills. She also says
she has been a victim for two years.
Lilian, a patient at the hospital
and a resident of Laini Saba Village
in Kibera, said that she was diagnosed
with hypertension two years ago.
Although she was diagnosed at
the free mobile clinic that AMREF offers for slum dwellers, one of the problems she cited about this issue is lack of
awareness or lack of participation by
Kiberans at these free health services.
Lilian said, “Many residents do
not attend to regular tests and medical check-ups even though these services are offered for free by AMREF.”

A good way to help determine
whether one may be at risk of getting
or having these diseases is checking
for some of the common and noticeable symptoms associated with them.
Dr. Joram said that one can
check for diabetes if they experienced uncontrolled dispensing of
short-calls, while hypertension can
be signified by irregular heartbeats at
random occasions. People should also
check for signs of obesity if they are
constantly gaining weight from eating fatty, salty and/or sugary foods.
Dr. Joram warned that these
diseases, if not well managed, can
cause serious health complications such as stroke, kidney failure and the deadly heart attack.
He advises that one of the easiest ways of protecting yourself or
lessening the impact of the diseases
on your health is through exercise.
“Most people neglect exercising
but it is very essential in fighting obesity in that it helps get rid of excess
fats from the body. This is the cheapest way to fight a lot of other health
problems as well including diabetes
and hypertension,” said Dr. Joram.
These diseases are very deadly
and that’s why AMREF in partnership
with the ministry of health are out to
rally campaigns against these disastrous diseases and in the process, provide free testing to the willing slum
residents. STAND OUT, GET TESTED and help improve the health of
your society and future generations.

Kamkunji grounds
become a garbage
dump site

Garbage piles at Kamkunji grounds threaten vitality of town center

A heap of trash in Soweto West village in Kibera. The same is seen in Kamkunji
grounds where garbage collected from other villages are collected and left for some time.

Photo | Google Images

By Andy Wanga

K

ibera residents have
recently been complaining about the
large piles of garbage that sit by the
train tracks at Kamkunji grounds.
This is because a Kamkunji
ground is a popular and busy space that
serves as a town center where people
gather to conduct business and politics.
Other than being a huge eye
soar, the garbage also stinks, obstructs

one of the main pathways in Kibera and creates a serious health risk.
While this garbage pile is the
collection point for the National Youth
Service initiative that cleans up the
slum, it is clear that NYS workers and
non-NYS residents as well as businesses all dump their garbage at this spot.
Mercy Adhiambo, who is
popularly known as “mama samaki”, sells fish along the railway tracks in Kamkunji grounds.
She says that her business has
suffered since the garbage’s appear-

ance. Adhiambo explains, “I have
lost a lot of customers because of the
bad smell that comes from the garbage.” She says that the garbage is a
big impediment for her business because she can’t take it anywhere else.
Despite this recent development,
Kamkunji grounds remains a perfect
location for businesses like mama
samaki’s which pop up at rush hour
selling ready-to-cook food, among
many other goods and services.
This is due to the thousands of
people must pass by Kamkunji on

their way home from work, or people generally frequent the grounds for
the public events like, open church
services, mobile clinics, political
rallies, music and other entertainment concerts that take place there.
John Omondi, a clothes seller who sets up shop at Kamkunji is
worried about the effects that the
garbage might have on his health,
especially since he is there from
morning to evening on a daily basis.
Omondi says, “I might get sick
and maybe not even know it till much
later!” He also thinks that NYS should
collect the garbage on a daily basis.
Food vendors, like mama samaki, who sell vegetables fish, fruits
and snacks close to or next to the
railway line in Kamkunji grounds
say that they’ve been struggling
as pedestrians and potential customers are now skeptical of the
cleanliness of the food and snacks.
Despite all this activity, oftentimes, the garbage at Kamkunji grounds sits there for a
week or more before NYS transports it to Dandora dumping site.
This is a huge health risk factor, as the garbage is exposed with
dogs, cats and other animals freely
digging through the piles and possibly spreading dangerous germs
and other infectious diseases.
Moreover, it is unclear whether
or not it is safe to inhale the vapors
and smells that emit from this pile
of possibly toxic or harmful waste.

Given all these health risks
and negative effects the garbage pile
is having on Kamkunji ground’s vitality, NYS and the County Government should come up with a different location to pile the garbage.
It is clear that most residents
not just those who conduct businesses and other activities at Kamkunji, want a solution to this problem.
Kevin, a Kibera resident voiced
his opinion on a possible solution
saying, “residents and NYS who
have turned Kamkunji grounds into
a dumping site must be stopped
and if anyone is caught throwing
garbage there, people should take
the responsibility of ensuring law
and order into their own hands, instead of waiting for the police.”
NYS workers have retorted by
saying that this although this is their
responsibility, they still have to take
instructions from top managers and
do not have much of say on where
garbage should go and how long
it can take the piles to be cleared.
They also defend the project by pointing to some of its successes such us the high reduction
in dumping garbage anywhere and
everywhere which has contributed
to making Kibera cleaner overall.
The NYS team believes that
every individual in Kibera should
be responsible for a cleaner environment by not littering, recycling
and keeping their spaces clean.

Ghetto Mirror | 8

Sports

ISSUE:20
AUGUST2015

Rugby club
created for
needy kids

SHAMAS Rugby Foundation
Foundation started a rugby academy for needy slum children to help develop the game in informal settlements
Photo | Shamas Rugby Foundation website

By Vincent Baraza
August’s SHAMAS Rugby
Foundation tournament went down at
the KCA University grounds along Thika Super Highway as planned despite
the month’s incessant cold weather.
The tournament that is meant to
not only introduce the sport to slum
children but also to bring together teams from Kibera, Korogocho,
Mukuru, Mathare and Eastland not to
compete but to build team work and
enhance the spirit of sportsmanship.
As rugby continues to gain
popularity
among
Kenyans,
SHAMAS Rugby Foundation is
dedicating its effort to assure that
Kids for poor backgrounds can
also be part of this game through
its monthly rugby tournaments.
This initiative is a major
source of inspiration and encouragement for poor children who have
a passion for the game but have
no opportunity to nurture the skill.
Held weekly in Kibera,
Mathare, Eastland, Korogocho and
Mukuru, the rugby sport clinics
bring together over 200 children be
trained by rugby coaches, most of
whom are current rugby players.
According to SHAMAS Rugby Foundation official website, they
have been able to introduce rugby
to more than 2000 children from
informal settlements around Nai-

robi in a span of two years now.
The idea to start a sort Rugby
academy for slum kids was first suggested by the Kenya Rugby Union
but it died off after the union faced a
lot of challenges such as lack of facilities, funds and poor fan turn-out.
However the idea was to be
revived when Azim Deen, one of
the current sponsors, decided to
support it with his desire to nurture
talent and offer life skills for children living in informal settlements.
Besides nurturing rugby talent, the initiative also focuses a lot
of effort and energy in producing
responsible individuals in society.
William Ferguson, head of operations at SHAMAS says, “It is not the
game we focus on, it is the kids, we
are try to make them appreciate themselves and not focus so much on their
background, they need to realize that
they are above the ‘slum-kids’ label.”
“We are instilling team work
and respect for each other because
growing up in such an environment can make a kid rough and
hard to socialize with his/her peers
due to discipline” added William.
Despite the cold weather, the
kids could not have been convinced
to take a break from the game to
keep warm in the provided rooms.
But what is even more popular is the yearly tour, a once-in-alifetime experience that takes the

players outside the country to England where they stay for 10 days
and play a number of games while
bonding with players from well of
countries and different cultures.
In addition to the fun and games,
the initiative is also working on an
educational sponsorship element
that provides scholarships to academically high-performing students.
“We have had some successful talks with a Kenyan bank on how
they can sponsor some of children
through primary school. We want to
give opportunities to talented boys
and girls to go to a quality high school
without paying school fees” said
Eduardo De Paoli, head of projects.
Through the initiative, several players have won scholarships and entries into good government, rugby-playing high schools.
Two kids, Maxwell Omondi and Victor Regena have both
received
sponsorships
to
attend Upper Hill High School.
The organization is also appealing to sponsors to come on board to help
make these slum-children’s dreams
of making it in the game come true.
“Funds have been a challenge
with the growing number of children
who are joining the initiative daily. It is
our hope that other organizations will
see the importance of this initiative and
walk with us, because this is not for
us, it’s for the children” said De Paoli.

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The Ghetto Mirror is a monthly publication published and distributed for free by Shining Hope for Communities as
part of its programs aimed at empowering the youth through developing their media skills and also to bring attention to the
issues affecting the residents of the informal settlements. All the work that goes into production of this newspaper is done by youths
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