Kawangware is one of Africa’s biggest slums situated about 15km west of Nairobi in Kenya. It is a huge, sprawling city of makeshift homes crammed with hundreds of thousands of residents, struggling to survive on less than one dollar a day.
The Kawangware slum lies between Lavington Estate and Dagoretti. It spans approximately 3km and has an ethnically diverse population of over 80,000 people, many of whom are children. Over 65 percent of the adult population have no permanent job and without access to education, some teenagers forget their dreams and turn to prostitution or crime to make money; others fall pregnant and continue their struggle to survive. Many children in the slum do not attend school.
Water supplied by the city authority is not available every day. Safe drinking water in Kawangware is scarce and expensive. Water borne diseases, respiratory pneumonia, aspiratory pneumonia and malaria are prevalent as well as many and airborne diseases due to the poor drainage system.
Many people in Kawangware are HIV-positive and caring for those with AIDS and the orphans left behind is overwhelming for the families and communities in the slum. Sadly this has resulted in an increase in the number of street children, prostitution, suicide and isolation of those infected.
Children and Education in Kenya
Education in Kenya is fairly expensive and is a luxury most families cannot afford. Many families live below the universal poverty line of 77p a day. Primary schools are free in Kenya but due to corruption this is often not the case. Secondary school is not funded by the government.
Many families in Kenya are so poor that an estimated four in ten children will have to leave education before they reach secondary school, and are then forced to work to financially support their families. Girls often get married very young at the ages of 12-14 to reduce the burden at home. Also, HIV/AIDS has left many orphans to be raised by relatives, who cannot afford to pay school fees.
Life for these families is very hard, and there is often not enough to eat. One in eight Kenyans die before the age of eight because there is not enough money for good medical care. About 30,000 children are living homeless on the streets of Nairobi.
“There’s no toilets. People excrete in paper bags. When it rains it mixes with this water and when you collect rainwater it is mixed with the stool that people throw anywhere, even on the roof”.
Kawangware Mother | africalightchristian.org