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G hetto Mirror Real life stories from slums ISSUE 20 G h e t t o

Ghetto Mirror

ghettomirror@shininghopeforcommunities.orgfrom slums ISSUE 20 G h e t t o M i r r o r

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


launches Kibera’s first ever community currency Lindi-Pesa Fourth commu - nity currency in the nation after

Fourth commu- nity 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 busi- ness transactions amongst themselves. Although it’s not a government recog- nized 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 co- ordinator, says the currency is going to help small scale businesses sell excess stock and

continues on page 3

Gender & Sexual violence
Gender & Sexual violence
SHOFCO Gender develOpment department Call: - 0703 445 737 - KIBera - 0720 852 920
SHOFCO Gender develOpment department
- 0703 445 737 - KIBera
- 0720 852 920 - matHare

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

Ghetto Mirror | 2




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

Survival in slums

Kibera is notoriously known as the largest slum in Afri- ca, a home of 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 ig- nored by the Kenyan government and hustling to survive. One


the ways residents are forced to survive is through prostitution.









































see it as beneficial because they can earn enough to survive.

However, a lot of young girls and women may earn as lit- tle as Ksh.20 or a plate of chips from the street food vendors.

possible danger that these

girls and women face while selling their bodies, they face

a huge risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and getting pregnant.


































do not have access to information about sexual and reproductive health.

Despite the prevalence of prostitution in slums, people are re- luctant 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


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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

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Water ATM

E-mail: Water ATM Corruption in NYS a threat to the program Residents of

Corruption in NYS a threat to the program

Residents of Kibera have generally welcomed activities by the National Youth Service (NYS) because of the positive economic impact NYS is mak- ing on slum upgrading. However, the downside is that corruption has become rampant among NYS person- nel and volunteer workers who implement the program. One of the biggest cor- ruption issues within NYS has to do with gender-based and sexual cases. Particularly, male resi- dents from Kibera have com- plained about NYS service men abusing their wives who work in the service oriented program. It is alleged that NYS ser- vice men are taking advantage of female workers by demand- ing sex from them in return for pity favors. These favors include working for short hours, not having to do some work and

getting assigned less work to do, among others. “Why should leaders of a certain group of workers fire a lady because she refuses to sleep with him?” Nick Walu- che, a resident of Kibera asked. Another resident, James Walumbe says that his wife confided in him about getting seduced by her NYS supervi- sor.

However, the supervisor gave up after realizing that she would not yield to his requests. This conduct goes against advertisements seen on TV, radio and magazines about the values that the service men oblige to and the behavior they should model and inspire among youth in slums. According to some NYS officials, last year, many of the youth, volunteers and residents had colluded to steal and sell building materials from the NYS projects. These materials, that

were meant to assist the whole community, were then sold at a cheap price. The problem of corruption does not only affect the big fish, it has also trickled down to volunteers and resi- dents.

Some individuals from the area are providing a ready market for stolen materials. Ann Auma, a business lady and resident of Makina village had seen volunteers collaborating with residents in stealing building materials which include sand, bricks, and cement. She claims to have wit- nessed youth working with the NYS selling cement to some residents who use them to build their own houses. She continued to explain that some residents do not un- derstand the importance of NYS’s efforts of developing the community. Auma says, “They usual- ly bribe these young men and

women with small amounts of money, between Ksh. 500- 1000, to have them steal and deliver the materials.” She also adds that, “It is sad to see that these youth do not see the potential for NYS to fix this the community through them by cleaning up, building much needed things like roads and toilets, and even hiring un- employed youth”. In order to fight corrup- tion and eradicate it from our society we should not only focus on senior servants but also junior servants. Seeming- ly, corruption is higher among NYS workers than among NYS officials. The selling of materials by volunteers and the misbe- having of the NYS service men should stop or the potential for Kibera’s upgrading is doomed.

Who did this

and the misbe- having of the NYS service men should stop or the potential for Kibera’s



Ghetto Mirror | 3

one on one Buju
one on one

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 Mon- ey” 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.”

Share with us your upbring- ing.

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 act-

ing 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 Tues- days and Thursdays at 2:00pm. Any artist who believes in theirtal- ent 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 Chur-

chill. 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 cor- ner”?

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


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 get- ting 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 nur- tures 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 Foun- dation (GYF).I encourage all those people whowant to nurture their talents to try out GYF.

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.

Wanga, caught up with him to share some of his life story. Lindi launches Kibera’s first
Wanga, caught up with him to share some of his life story. Lindi launches Kibera’s first
Wanga, caught up with him to share some of his life story. Lindi launches Kibera’s first

Lindi launches Kibera’s first community currency

from page 1

render services to custom- ers as well as increase sales. “Small business owners de- pend on each other for purchasing goods and services to meet their dai- ly 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 invent- ed in the U.S.A. as a pilot program and upon its success, it was introduced in South Africa with the aim of promot- ing business and entrepreneurial en- deavors within certain communities. It first premiered in Kenya as ‘Bangla Pesa’ in 2010 when it was rolled out in three villages in Mom- basa, 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 cer- tain amount of money and only registered members are allowed to access and utilize the currency. The lowest Lindi Pesa amount is

and utilize the currency. The lowest Lindi Pesa amount is Dagorreti North Constituency Member of Parliament

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

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 busi- ness owners to save their nation- al currency in order to grow their stock and expand their business- es. 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 qual- ified 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-

Photo | Google images

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 na- ture of their business, how long it has run, the margin of profit and their de- pendents who can help with account- ability. Additionally, one must pay Ksh.100 as a one-time registration fee. After one has been ful- ly registered as a member, they will receive a Lindi-Pesa vouch- er worth Ksh. 200 to start trad- ing when it is officially launched. As the initiative is still in its early stages, the focus is currently on raising awareness in order to in- form and attract as many people and businesses as possible. The initia- tive has already been met with posi- tive responses in Lindi with a lot of people eagerly awaiting its launch. However, there are some who doubt whether the system will be al- lowed in Nairobi since the govern- ment intervened in Mombasa by try- ing to ban the Bangla-Pesa currency. However, the program’s coordinator have their hopes high that it will work. “If the people of Lindi un- derstand the benefits of this thing, they will all come on board as this will help us uplift one anoth- er by boosting the businesses of those involved.” Wamboi said.

Ghetto Mirror | 4



Pic Speak
Pic Speak

A full page of pictures stories from slum areas.

Pic Speak A full page of pictures stories from slum areas. The artist had a humble

The artist had a humble plea to youth and drug addicts to stop using drugs as it is not friendly to anyone.

Photo | Joseph Kinyua

drugs as it is not friendly to anyone. Photo | Joseph Kinyua Education is the key

Education is the key to success as reads a wall in one of the public primary schools in Soweto slums in Kayole.

Photo | Courtersy

primary schools in Soweto slums in Kayole. Photo | Courtersy A Lindi resident cutting the ribbon

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

Photo | Courtersy

on 8th August in DC grounds in Kibera Photo | Courtersy A Mathare resident lies on

A Mathare resident lies on the ground after consuming all these comes despite governments crack down on illicit brew across the nation that was meant at reducing if not stopping too much consumption of alcohol by citizens after a number of residents lost their lives and eye sights.

Photo | Joseph Kinyua

lost their lives and eye sights. Photo | Joseph Kinyua Perhaps this cart is not just

Perhaps this cart is not just for transporting water, vegetables and house- hold 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 not just to ensure the resting.

Photo | Joseph Kinyua

or not just to ensure the resting. Photo | Joseph Kinyua Just being cautious as this

Just being cautious as this man looks at the crates of buns he has stacked perhaps to make sure he delivers them in good quality.

Photo: Joseph Kinyua

sure he delivers them in good quality. Photo: Joseph Kinyua National Youth Service (NYS) youths doing

National Youth Service (NYS) youths doing commu- nity clean up in Kibera. This is one of the work they have been doing in Kibera and other slums.

Photo | Courtersy

have been doing in Kibera and other slums. Photo | Courtersy Lindi residents holding hand bags

Lindi residents holding hand bags branded Lin- di-Pesa. The voucher first of its kind in Kibera seems to have taken route in Lindi

Photo: Google Images



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 current- ly raging war against illicit alcohol. The area chiefs and the po- lice 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 po- lice officers leave, business as usual resumes as breweries re- open and production continues. Hundreds of liters of chang’aa and kangara have been seized and poured and many have been ar- rested. 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 un- known 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 Po- lices’ claim that this crackdown is

for the benefit of residents, the res- idents have raised concern about the approach this war is taking. To residents, the war seems

to have changed course from fight-

ing illicit brews in the area to fo- cusing on the locals themselves. The residents were particu- larly angered by a police operation carried out on July 28 in the area. On this day the General Ser- vice Unit of the police (GSU) con- ducted 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 am- bushed 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 humili- ated 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 oth- er 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 resi- dents 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 is- sue on the raids has to do with the economic impact that this huge industry has on Mathare. Some residents pose the import- ant question of what will happen to all the people who work in the industry. Others carry the view that oth- er jobs related to this industry such as prostitution will be on the rise as many of the bar maids who work in the lo- cal 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 decreas- ing job opportunities from the Na- tional 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 lo- cals are most likely to develop a hos- tile attitude towards the police service. This hostility between the locals and the police will cre- ate 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 try- ing 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, com- prehensive and intelligent way that can finally ensure victory.

Youth serving the community while making a living

By Kevin Ochieng’

bers have grown to 26 and MYG has moved from being a mere self- help group to a government-regis- tered association that is well-known for the impact it has had in its area.

this service as Majengo slum is known as one of the most thriving locations in Nairobi’s sex industry. Mary Sanyu Osire, a self-pro- claimed ambassador for social and

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

dle this problem, forcing the MYG clean-up crew to unblock sewers themselves without the proper equip- ment and at the risk of their health. MYG’s biggest challenge is

Majengo, a Swahili word mean- ing 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

The group’s main activ- ity revolves around sanitation which includes clean-ups con- ducted on Wednesdays and Sat- urdays of every week. They also supply clean water to residents. A member who only identi-

behavior change communication in Africa working for Hifadhi Af- rica (an SRH organization), ex- plains the reality of this situation. According to Mary’s blog,, one can easily spot a female sex work-

like United States Agency for In- ternational Development (USAID) and Gesellschaft für Internatio- nale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) a Ger- man corporation for internation- al development, have stepped up campaigns where commercial sex

that most members take advan- tage 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 hard-

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

fied himself as Charger says,” We have employed seven people who deliver water to residents.” “But when the demand for the commod- ity rises they recruit more people

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 ap- proaches her, she follows him into


cally put up condoms at toilet facilities

workers are taught and given aware- ness on how to protect themselves. Sex workers can also un- dergo medical checkups ev- ery Tuesday for two hours.

er for the cleaners do their work. Their biggest worry howev- er, is caused by an elected politi- cian who, they claim, wants to take over their facilities. The politician

through income generating activities.

to help on supply,” Charger added.

her house carrying the stool on hand.

While MYG members are hap-


also said to have grabbed a piece

The group now known as the

Apart from sanitation and wa-

To help with curbing the danger-

py about the progress they have made,


land where a toilet stood, and re-

Millennium Youth Group (MYG)

ter services, the group also promotes

ous diseases that are caused by unsafe

they still encounter a number of issues

placed it with a different structure.

was founded in 2000 by 17 youth with the aim of encouraging and pro- viding young people to participate in activities that are beneficial to them-

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

sex, MYG also distributes condoms to Majengo residents. Ali Ramadhan, a MYG member says that they strategi-

that make their work challenging. The lack of a proper sewage sys- tem means that the sewers will often block or burst. The County Sanita-

Despite these challenges, Ra- madhan and Charger are optimistic about the fruition of MYG’s long- term goals to venture into hous-

selves and the community as a whole.

reproductive health (SRH) services.


various locations where people can

tion Department that is mandated to

ing projects and a biogas plant as

Since 2000, the group’s mem-

The group decided to start

easily access them. Ramadhan posits

deal with this issue often do not han-


way of increasing their income.

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 Com- munication Technology (ICT) class- es to slum youth at highly discount- ed fees in an effort to improve their ability to contribute to their so- cio-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 knowl- edge to otherwise vulnerable youth. In Nairobi Nairobits has part- nered with CBOs like Youth Initia- tive 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 includ- ed the Assistant Chief who rebuked the ill motives taken by young high school students in immorality and drug abuse. The chief pointed to a re- cent national-news-making inci- dent in which high school students were found with drugs and cop- ulating on a public service bus. In advising the youth on these is- sues -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, Mau- rice 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 Afri- canYouth Chatter and the section of the constitution that focuses on the youth. He believes that such read- ing materials are good for youth as it can guide them appropri- ately on how to help themselves. Vincent Amayo, who was rep- resenting Kibra MP, Kenneth Okoth,

spoke about money issues and told the

youth not to complain about not get- ting 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 reg- istered 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 busi- nesses by saving money and get- ting help from family and friends. Many of the youth that attend- ed the event said that they gained

a lot of knowledge from the pan-

elists’ remarks. “This was a great opportunity, I feel really inspired and changed”, said Fellah Awaga, a first course student with Nairobits.

a great opportunity, I feel really inspired and changed”, said Fellah Awaga, a first course student

Ghetto Mirror | 6




Topical stories on daily happenings in our society.

Challenges of learning in informal schools

By Collince Ouma

K ibera is quite a reli-

gious community with a

large number of Chris-

tians and Muslims alike. You can tell based on the number of churches and mosques that dot the congested slum. On weekends, the church- es 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 differ- ent 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 environ- ment 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 phys- ical structure itself, teachers, books, blackboards, chalk, desks, chairs, etc.

In fact, there are only four for- mal 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 Pri- mary School has about 3500 stu- dents and although it is a public/ formal and government recognized school, it is having a hard time han- dling this number of students with- out enough resources and space. One of its biggest chal- lenges 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 over- capacity and lack of resources. To begin with, that informal schools are not recognized by the

government is a fact that threat- ens the existence of the schools. The informality of a school means that it can be shut down at any time, causing all educa- tional 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 overca- pacity and lack of resources on a larg- er scale and on a more extreme level. What’s more, most of these schools can be demolished or evict- ed without notice or compensation simply because of the informal status. One such school, St. Juliet Edu- cational Center, sits beside the railway line and is facing this challenge as the government and Kenya Railway Au- thority 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 be- cause of this development. The school has 600 stu- dents, most of whom are or- phans meaning that they can’t de- pend 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 op- tions, the school is constantly suffer- ing 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 dilap- idated, with no walls and no roof. These students who are about to take the National Kenya Certificate Pri- mary Education (KCPE) exams, have to endure both scorching sun and freez- ing rain as they attend their lessons. Mr. Omusula the head teach- er of this school says that he is

at a loss over what to do because

of the risk of further demoli- tions if the school tries to rebuild.

Lack space

“There is no space to con- struct other classrooms because the railway company wants their land,” Mr. Omusula added. Helen Atieno, a school manag-

er in one of the informal schools that

was started in 2003 when a church’s pastor agreed to let the space func- tion 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. Atie- no 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. Students at Kibera Soccer Girls, a secondary school in Kib- era’s Makina village complain that the quality of education is ex- tremely low. Two students, who re- quested 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 prob- lem 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 quali- ty education is probably more im- portant than the National Youth Service (NYS) initiative and re- quires less effort and management.

Social Entrepreneurship Course to create self reliable youth

By Felix Omondi

I t’s a cold morning and a group of more than 30 mentee’s are making their way to the Ghet-

to 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 up- lift the lives of Kenyan youth and their communities through sus- tainable social entrepreneurship. Currently, the program is op- erating in Kibera and Mathare slums. The Mathare offices also ac- cept residents from other slums, as far as Dandora and Lakisama. The program works with stu- dents from the University of Brit- ish 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, presenta- tions 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 Ken-

yan entrepreneurs have gone through the program. Also, a total of 80 un- dergraduate and MBA students from the University of British Colombia have participat- ed in the program. This year’s program has the highest number of mentees with ap- proximately 120 Kenyan entrepre- neurs signed up for the program. Pastor Josh- ua, a mentee in the program is thankful for the opportunity as entrepreneurship and self-employ- ment seem to be the government’s poli- cy 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 busi- ness ideas that are developed through these programs by offering grants and loans that will en- able these ideas to - come reality.


Juliet (last name) from Mathare who is also cur- rently a mentee in the program has many praises for it. “This pro- gram is great, it has expanded my knowledge on busi- ness and as well as helped me de- velop my business idea just by hearing from other people’s experiences and ideas,” said Juliet.

Stephen An- aya, 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 ac- tions 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 am- bitious, hardworking and realistic,” “It also helped me learn how to set realistic goals, plan how to attain these goals and the ac- tions to put in place to make sure

I reach these goals,” he added. Behind all the great praises of- fered by the participants are the fa- cilitators who put a lot of time and effort to impart their business knowl-

edge to the mentees. One such facil- itator is Brooke Allen, a professor of graphic design at Emily Carr Uni- versity of Art and Design, Canada. Brooke says that she was mo- tivated 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 educa- tor, 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 ex- perience some challenges. One of the greatest challenges is the high num-

ber 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 anoth- er 62% dropped out by graduation. In dealing with the high rates of drop outs, the program has im-

plemented a stricter application system to ensure that they get se- rious and committed participants.


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


Ghetto Mirror | 7



A once mobile clinic offers free treatments

‘Rich Man’s Disease’ crops in slums

free treatments ‘Rich Man’s Disease’ crops in slums Wolrd wide statistics show that there are over

Wolrd wide statistics show that there are over 387 million cases of diabetes. Half of the number get diagnosed of whom also only half receive care. Half of those able to get care get treatment yet only half of those who get treat are able to get desired outcome.

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 cam- paigns (held in July) that offered free diabetes and hypertension tests dis- covered that quite a substantial number

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

He explained that these diseas- es 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 ad- dition to alcohol, are the major contributors of these diseases.

“As much as the body needs these materials for its normal metabol- ic processes, the amount that we take nowadays is unhealthy,” he added. Except for a very few abnor- mal cases of infants born with these diseases, almost no one is born with lifestyle-influenced diseases. There- fore, people should be unexceptional- ly keen on the kinds of food they eat. In doing so, Dr. Joram empha- sized that parents should also be care- ful about the kinds of food they feed their children as younger people are easily attracted to these types of food. He also advised that peo- ple 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 of- fers for slum dwellers, one of the prob- lems 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 medi- cal check-ups even though these ser- vices 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 notice- able symptoms associated with them. Dr. Joram said that one can check for diabetes if they experi- enced 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 eat- ing fatty, salty and/or sugary foods. Dr. Joram warned that these diseases, if not well managed, can cause serious health complica- tions such as stroke, kidney fail- ure and the deadly heart attack. He advises that one of the eas- iest 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 obe- sity in that it helps get rid of excess fats from the body. This is the cheap- est 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 disas- trous diseases and in the process, pro- vide free testing to the willing slum residents. STAND OUT, GET TEST- ED and help improve the health of your society and future generations.


Timber sales is fast growing despite global warming

Deforestation effects on timber businesses

global warming Deforestation effects on timber businesses A heap of trash in Soweto West village in

A heap of trash in Soweto West village in Kibera. The same

grounds where garbage collected from other villages are collected and left.

is seen in Kamkunji

Photo | Google Images

By Andy Wanga

K ibera residents have

recently been com-

plaining 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 Kib- era 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 business- es all dump their garbage at this spot. Mercy Adhiambo, who is popularly known as “mama sa- maki”, sells fish along the rail- way 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 gar- bage.” She says that the garbage is a big impediment for her business be- cause 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 peo-

Given all these health risks

ple generally frequent the grounds for

and negative effects the garbage pile

the public events like, open church


having on Kamkunji ground’s vi-

services, mobile clinics, political rallies, music and other entertain- ment concerts that take place there.

tality, NYS and the County Gov- ernment should come up with a dif- ferent location to pile the garbage.

John Omondi, a clothes sell-


is clear that most residents

er who sets up shop at Kamkunji is

not just those who conduct business-

worried about the effects that the


and other activities at Kamkun-

garbage might have on his health, especially since he is there from


want a solution to this problem. Kevin, a Kibera resident voiced

morning to evening on a daily basis. Omondi says, “I might get sick and maybe not even know it till much

his opinion on a possible solution saying, “residents and NYS who have turned Kamkunji grounds into

later!” He also thinks that NYS should


dumping site must be stopped

collect the garbage on a daily basis. Food vendors, like mama sa- maki, 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 cus-

and if anyone is caught throwing garbage there, people should take the responsibility of ensuring law and order into their own hands, in- stead of waiting for the police.” NYS workers have retorted by saying that this although this is their

tomers are now skeptical of the cleanliness of the food and snacks. Despite all this activity, of- tentimes, the garbage at Kam-

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

kunji grounds sits there for a


can take the piles to be cleared.

week or more before NYS trans- ports it to Dandora dumping site. This is a huge health risk fac-

They also defend the proj- ect by pointing to some of its suc- cesses such us the high reduction

tor, as the garbage is exposed with


dumping garbage anywhere and

dogs, cats and other animals freely digging through the piles and pos- sibly 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.

everywhere which has contributed to making Kibera cleaner overall. The NYS team believes that every individual in Kibera should be responsible for a cleaner envi- ronment by not littering, recycling and keeping their spaces clean.

Ghetto Mirror | 8




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
Photo | Shamas Rugby Foundation website
By Vincent Baraza
August’s SHAMAS Rugby
Foundation tournament went down at
the KCAUniversity grounds alongThi-
Super Highway as planned despite
the month’s incessant cold weather.
The tournament that is meant to
robi in a span of two years now.
The idea to start a sort Rugby
academy for slum kids was first sug-
gested by the Kenya Rugby Union
but it died off after the union faced a
lot of challenges such as lack of fa-
cilities, 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 chil-
dren living in informal settlements.
Besides nurturing rugby tal-
ent, the initiative also focuses a lot
of effort and energy in producing
responsible individuals in society.
William Ferguson, head of oper-
ations at SHAMAS says, “It is not the
game we focus on, it is the kids, we
are try to make them appreciate them-
selves 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 environ-
ment 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 pop-
ular is the yearly tour, a once-in-a-
lifetime experience that takes the
players outside the country to En-
gland 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,
initiative is also working on an
not only introduce the sport to slum
children but also to bring togeth-
er 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 encour-
agement for poor children who have
educational sponsorship element
that provides scholarships to aca-
demically high-performing students.
“We have had some success-
talks with a Kenyan bank on how
they can sponsor some of children
through primary school. We want to
give opportunities to talented boys
girls to go to a quality high school
without paying school fees” said
Eduardo De Paoli, head of projects.
Through the initiative, sev-
eral players have won scholar-
ships and entries into good govern-
ment, rugby-playing high schools.
Two kids, Maxwell Omon-
and Victor Regena have both
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 Rug-
by Foundation official website, they
have been able to introduce rugby
to more than 2000 children from
informal settlements around Nai-
received sponsorships to at-
tend Upper Hill High School.
The organization is also appeal-
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
hope that other organizations will
the importance of this initiative and
walk with us, because this is not for
it’s for the children” said De Paoli.
is not for us, it’s for the children” said De Paoli. G hetto Mirror SHOFCO Urban
is not for us, it’s for the children” said De Paoli. G hetto Mirror SHOFCO Urban



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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 from the slums. Correspondence should be addressed to You can also visit our facebook page for constant news updates, photos, and videos. News and advertising 0722 550 024