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Survivors - new IRIN film released
October 24, 2007
the Slum Survivors film trailer
than a billion people live in slums, with as many as one million
in Kibera, Africa's largest such settlement, in the Kenyan
capital Nairobi. Slum Survivors, IRIN's first full-length
documentary, tells some of their stories.
Meet Carol, a single
mother of three, who walks miles each day in search of work washing
other people's clothes. It is a hand-to-mouth existence -
sometimes she gets work and buys food, but most of the time she
and her children go to bed hungry.
is so desperate that on more than one occasion she has come close
to suicide. With no-one to rely on for support, she's left
hoping for miracles.
"We hope that one
day God will come down - we keep on saying that. One day God
will come down and change our situations."
Dennis Onyango fell into
poverty when his father left his mother for another woman. Forced
out of school because of unpaid fees, he ended up in Mombasa where
he found work as a DJ.
Life was good until inter-ethnic
fighting forced Dennis back to the safety of Nairobi. But poverty
and desperation pushed him into a life of crime.
"Many of my friends
had guns. I had grown up in the hands of the police because my father
was a policeman. He used to leave his gun on the table so I knew
how to dismantle and reassemble guns, so my friends used to bring
their guns to me for cleaning - that's how I got started."
But these days, Dennis
is trying to change. He wants to turn his back on crime and start
Patrick Mburu says he
has lost many friends to crime and believes hard work is the only
way out of poverty for him and his young family. His parents were
both alcoholics and so he has had to fend for himself from a young
Patrick empties latrines
for a living. Most toilets in Kibera are privately owned and residents
must pay to use them. There are so few toilets that on average each
one is shared by more than a thousand people.
Most slum dwellers never
finish school and end up trapped in poverty, which is why Patrick
is adamant his kids will get an education.
"In Kenya, no education
means you can't get a good job; that's why I send my
son to a good school, because I want him to know that the job that
I do is only for people like me who didn't go to school.
"So, I will struggle
- I will carry a lot of shit, I will do anything but steal to keep
him in school."
Abdul Kassim also believes
in the importance of education. He works as a telecoms engineer,
but puts most of his income into a free secondary school for girls,
which he started in January 2006.
"I saw that there
was no gender equity between the boy child and the girl child here
in Kibera, and so we started a girl's soccer team. Then all
the challenges, all the bad things that happen within Kibera saw
some of them getting into early marriages, some of them got pregnant
- there was a time when I lost the entire striking force of my team
and it brought into question the starting of another alternative,
which was nothing but education."
Christina, 17, is just
one of 48 pupils at Abdul's school but her story is typical.
She lives with her mother, father and five siblings in a one-room
shack. Her parents' relationship is fraught and Christina
is often left alone in charge of the house.
When she finished primary
school, her father refused to send her to secondary school, claiming
that educating girls was a waste of money.
"My dad wants everyone
to drop out of school. He complains that he has no money, or that
he's sick . . . I don't know . . . I don't
know why he doesn't want us to learn."
Christina has a hole
in her heart - a serious condition for which she should take daily
medication but the cost - US$10 a day - is far beyond her family's
means. School, a job and then a salary might just save her life.
For Abdul, education
is the key to solving the problems of the urban poor and that is
why he started the school. He has lived here all his life and has
seen Kibera change beyond recognition as more and more people flood
into the city in search of a better life.
see why people are living the way they are living in Kibera, or
in any other slums, there is no reason - there is no justification.
Kibera if this issue is not handled at some time this problem is
going to come knocking at people's doors - and those who think
it's not their problem might be surprised one day when this
problem comes knocking at their door."
the trailer for the IRIN Slum Survivors film
- Length: 2:07
- Format: Windows Media Audio/Video file
- Quality: 80Kbps
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