MATHARE SLUM

Poverty Paradox

Not far from the large houses and sweeping green lawns of the affluent in Nairobi, lies the sprawling slum of Mathare where 500,000 souls live in mud and corrugated iron structures in one square kilometre. In the oldest slum in Kenya, the residents live below the poverty index and scrape by every day without clean water, sanitation, electricity and passable roads. The youth are at high risk of gang violence, drugs, alcohol, unwanted pregnancies and crime. Unemployment is at 80 per cent and education is minimal. I was inspired to step out of my privileged bubble and explore a sewing collective which enables uneducated women to earn a living through sewing school uniforms and an orphanage. I was moved and humbled by the energy, friendliness and positivity of the people, despite their daily struggles.