Life in the slum

Text by Victor Oduor

Growing up in the slum is a reality that many people face. No one chooses to be born in poverty or to have parents who struggle to provide for their basic needs. When you come from the slums, people often look down upon you as if you are to blame for your circumstances. This usually is a difficult situation for children, who may feel ashamed of their living conditions and majority of them try to hide this situation from their schoolmates. The reality of life in the slum is harsh, with limited access to clean water, toilets, and even food. While food may be relatively cheap in the slum, it is still a luxury for many families who struggle to afford even basic necessities, the only food we knew growing up was kales and ugali (corn starch)and if the diet changes that would be joy to the whole family. In the shanties, children struggle to get by as their parents may not always be able to provide for them the basic needs. In these situations, they may turn to their neighbors for help. While these neighbors may also be living in poverty, they are often willing to share what little they have to ensure that children have enough to eat ,this is the perfect description of it takes a whole village to raise a child

As children in the slums grow into teenager, they face new and more complex challenges. Hormonal changes and increased personal demands lead them to feel ashamed of asking for help or relying on their neighbors, even if those neighbors have always been there for them. These challenges can be difficult to navigate, and some teenagers turn to crime as a way to provide for themselves and their families. Girls in the slum are often vulnerable to exploitation, as most of them struggle to meet the demands of growing up. This has resulted in a larger number of them being taken advantage of by older boys who offer to provide for them in a small way. This has resulted in a high rate of school dropouts, a growing number of teenage mothers, high rate of abortion and crime in the slum.

The root causes of slum settlements are often complex, with factors such as population pressure in urban areas and a lack of government response to housing needs contributing to the problem. In order to survive in these difficult circumstances, many young people in the slum usually turn to gangs for protection of their dwelling places and to have a sense of belonging ,when this gangs become uncontrollable they usually start to extort money from individual houses with the reason that they are providing security . Unemployment and feelings of resentment towards those who seem to be doing better has also fueled crime in the slum. For those who are able to escape the cycle of poverty through education, the path is often difficult and requires a strong desire to succeed.

Growing up in a cramped and makeshift dwelling in the slum can make it difficult to find a quiet and peaceful place to study. Noise from neighbors and children playing outside can be distracting, and finding a space to focus on personal studies can be a challenge. Despite these difficulties, education has always been the only opportunity for children in the slum to improve their circumstances and achieve their goals as most of them have talents but due to our education system a lot of useful talents from slums go to waste . However, the path to education is not easy, as there are barriers such as school fees, uniforms, and a lack of support from parents who may not have had the opportunity to go to school themselves. It takes determination and perseverance to overcome these challenges and succeed in school.Majority of children in the slum rely on their peers or makeshift libraries to learn about the importance of education and to find ways to study and pass exams. Scholarships are the only way most of these children make it in education but it’s mostly available to those who excel academically, but these opportunities can be difficult to come by and often require a strong drive to succeed

Growing up in such conditions children usually lack access to social amenities or spaces to play, which lead them to interact with dangerous or unhealthy behaviours at a young age. One example of this is the drug trade, which may thrive in the slum due to high rates of unemployment and a lack of opportunities for young people. Children who learn about drugs at a young age may be more likely to turn to them as a coping mechanism when faced with disappointment or other challenges later in life. This always has a negative consequences such as depression and a downward spiral into drug addiction. It can be difficult for the government to combat these issues in the slum, where the narrow roads and haphazardly built houses create a conducive environment for illegal activities. It is sad to see friends from childhood fall into this trap, and it highlights the importance of addressing the root causes of crime in these communities which is access to equal opportunities like anybody else.

As a parent living in the slum, it can be difficult to protect your children from negative influences and to ensure that they grow up to be responsible and hardworking adults. Without access to social amenities and structured programs, children may be exposed to risky behaviors and may be more vulnerable to falling into crime. However, with the help of organizations and community resources, it is possible to support children in the slum and give them the skills and resources they need to succeed. Lack of opportunity and a desire to fit in with those who are more affluent can be major factors that drive young people to crime. Education is often the key to breaking this cycle and providing a better future for oneself, but without access to affordable and accessible education, some may feel that they have no other options. It is important to address the root causes of crime and to provide support and resources to those in need in order to create a safer and more equitable society

Neue Schulbücher / New school books


In diesem Jahr gibt es in Kenia umfangreich Änderungen am Lehrplan. Um unsere Bücherei auf aktuellen Stand zu halten, werden wir in diesem Jahr Schritt für Schritt unseren Bücherbestand tauschen bzw. erweitern.


This year there will be comprehensive changes on the Kenian curriculum. In order to keep our library up to date, we will modify the stock of our books step by step.

Merry Christmas / frohe Weihnachten 2021


Diese Woche war es wieder so weit: unser Team von KiberaAID organisierte ein kleines Weihnachtsfest und verteilte an über 20 bedürftige Familien prall gefüllte Geschenktüten. Darin befand sich u. a. Maismehl, Öl, Backpulver und vieles mehr. Wir hatten eine wirklich tolle Zeit.


This week the time had come: the team of Kibera AID organised a little Christmas celebration and distributed bulging bags to over 20 families. The bags contained things like maize flour, Oil and baking powder. We had a really great time.

Fortschritt / Progress

Deutsch (English see below):

Die Bibliothek ist nun eröffnet und wächst stetig heran. Hunderte von Bücher haben wir inzwischen in der Bücherei eingerichtet. Sogar ein Arbeitsplatz wurde geschaffen, in dem eine Bibliothekarin eine Stelle in unserer Bücherei bekommen hat. Sie registriert alle Bücher, betreut Besucher und kümmert sich um sonstige Belange während der Öffnungszeiten. Täglich suchen Kinder den Ort auf. Um zu lernen. Um eine gute Zeit zu haben. Um mehr aus ihrem Leben zu machen. Unser nächstes Ziel ist simpel: mehr Bücher-Regale… volle Bücher-Regale!



The library of KiberaAID is open and it is growing constantly. There are already hundreds of books in the shelves. We even created a job which enables a woman a monthly income. She handles several tasks like taking record of books, supporting visitors and many more during the opening hours. Every day children are visiting our library. They simply have good time at this place which offers them great conditions for learning. Our next aim is simple: more book shelves…. well-stocked book shelves!


Aktueller Stand

Was tut sich neues bei KiberaAID?
Wir haben die Kinder nun seit ca. einem halben Jahrzehnt durch die schulische Laufbahn begleitet, ihnen in meist wöchentlichen Turnus Allgemeinwissen sowie Spiel & Spaß vermittelt. Was nun folgt, ist eine Umstrukturierung weg von den regelmäßigen Treffen hin zu einer Oase des Lernens: einer Bücherei.

Sie soll für jedermann zugänglich sein und Schritt für Schritt wachsen. Der Markt für gebrauchte Bücher ist in Nairobi nicht mit dem in Deutschland vergleichbar (Ebay, reBuy etc.) bzw. kaum vorhanden. Neue Bücher sind dagegen teuer, sodass auch diese Umsetzung wieder ein gewisses Maß an Zeit und Geduld erfordert.

Frohe Ostern bei KidsClub KiberaAID / Happy Easter at KidsClub KiberaAID


Im März veranstaltete KiberaAID gleich an drei Wochenenden ein Treffen mit den Kindern. An den ersten beiden Samstagen wurden Themen wie Sauberkeit und Grundwissen gelehrt. Am letzten Wochenende folgte unser jährliches Osterfest, wo die Kinder Geschenke für ihre Familie erhielten. Doch genug geredet, lassen wir die Galerie mit ihren Fotos für sich sprechen.

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In March KiberaAID organised three meetings in a row. The kids were tought in terms of cleanlines and other basic knowledge. On the last weekend happy Easter was celebrated in a very festive way. Every child got a Easter-present for their families. As you can see on the pictures everybody had a really good time. Enjoy the gallery!

KiberaAID Kidsclub in february


Im Februar veranstaltete KiberaAID wieder ein ereignisreiches Treffen mit den Kids. Hygiene war diesmal das Thema, welches theoretisch und praktisch gelehrt wurde um zukünftig Infektionskrankheiten zu vermeiden. Für leibliches Wohl wurde ebenso gesorgt.

Die Bilder zeigen schön, dass wir auf engsten Raum ein doch vergleichsweise großes Gebäude errichtet haben. Den Raum mit Bücher-Regalen und anderen Lernmaterialien zu füllen wird unser nächster Meilenstein sein.

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In February KiberaAID organised an exciting meeting with the kids. Hygiene was the main topic which was teached in a theoretical and also practical way in order to avoid infectious diseases. We also provided sustenance.

These pictures show how KiberaAID managed incorporating a relatively big building within a small area.

Filling this room with bookshelfs and other learning materials will be the next milestone.

Frohes neues Jahr! Happy New Year!


Die politischen Unruhen in Kibera haben sich gelegt. Die hierbei entstandenen Schäden an unserem Gebäude sind zwar noch nicht vollends behoben, aber dennoch wollten wir bei den Kindern für Weihnachtsstimmung sorgen. Jedes von ihnen erhielt bei der Weihnachtsfeier ihr eigenes Weihnachtsgeschenk. Es war ebenso eine gute Gelegenheit unser eigenes Gebäude einzuweihen. Hier ist mit verhältnismäßig wenig Geld ein toller Treffpunkt entstanden.

KiberaAID wünscht allen ein frohes und vor allem gesundes Jahr 2018!

Party Smile


Finally the political riots in Kibera have disappeared. They caused damage on our building which still has not been repaired. Despite all that we organized a christmas party for the kids. Everyone got his own gift and the meeting was a good chance to inaugurate our building.

KiberaAID wishes everybody a happy and blessed year 2018!

Ausnahmezustand in Nairobi / State of emergency in Nairobi


Die Wahl in Kenia bestimmt nach wie vor das aktuelle Geschehen in Nairobi und der näheren Umgebung.

Nach Wahlverfälschung forderte die Opposition hinter Raila Odinga Neuwahlen. Doch bevor diese durchgeführt werden konnte, machte Raila Odinga den Rücktritt bekannt und forderte einen Boykott der Wahl. Bewaffnete Aufstände, Tote und Schusswaffengebrauch beherrschen nun seit August die Schlagzeilen Kenias. Davon blieb auch Kibera nicht verschont. Eine Kugel durchdrang sogar unser neues Gebäude. Nicht auszudenken was passiert wäre, hätte sich jemand darin aufgehalten. Obwohl das Gebäude fast fertig eingerichtet ist, kann unsere Organisation unter diesen Umständen noch nicht vollends ihre Aktivitäten ausüben. Nun gilt es zu hoffen, dass unsere Helfer vor Ort sowie unser neues Gebäude diese unruhige und bedenkliche Situation heil überstehen.

IMG-20171120-WA0002     IMG-20171120-WA0001


The election in Kenia is still dominating the current situation in Nairobi. After sophisticating the elections result Raila Odinga demanded new elections. But befor implementing Raila Odinga resigned and called for boycotting the election. Thus riots, deaths and use of firearms are part of the daily happening in Nairobi. Also Kibera has not been spared of this brutal situation. One of the bullets even penetrated our new building. It was just luck that no one was inside of the building while it was hit by the bullet. Although the building process is near to be finished our organisation is currently not fit for its purposes because of this stressing period. Now it is much more important that our members and friends of KiberaAID are surviving this emergency situation.

Der Bauprozess startet / Start of the building process

Nun ist es so weit: nach langer Planung und Vorbereitung beginnt der Bau eines eigenen Treffpunkts für KiberaAID.

Jahrelang hat sich KiberaAID alle ein bis zwei Wochen mit den Kindern getroffen um Spaß zu haben, Grundwissen zu vermitteln und das Gefühl eines Miteinanders zu fördern.

Treffpunkt war ein Gebäude, welches unter der Woche als Schule und Sonntags als Kirche diente. Samstags war die Halle also frei, sodass wir hier unsere Treffen -auch genannt KidsClub KiberaAID- umsetzen konnten. Seit Beginn der Baumaßnahmen an der angrenzenden Eisenbahnlinie steht uns dieser Ort nicht mehr zur Verfügung. Bald war klar: ein neuer Platz muss her. Ein eigener Platz. Dank der vielen Spenden ein machbares Ziel, welches nun in den kommenden Wochen Wirklichkeit wird. Der Platz soll nicht nur Treffpunkt sein, sondern auch als Bücherei und Lern-Oase dienen. Hierzu wird das Häuschen Schritt für Schritt eingerichtet.

Die Bilder dokumentieren den derzeitigen Bauablauf.

Auch unser Team-Mitglied Victor Oduor meldet sich zu Wort:

We usually say a picture is worth a thousand words. Through the lens of a Nikon camera, kiberaAid was born, an organisation which was registered three years ago and is finally in the process of having its own office, the saying has turned to be true according to my experience. A dream that started as a suggestion amongst my peers turned to be true one week ago when we started building the kiberaAid office. Having grown in kibera we knew every single challenge a normal child goes through in everyday life inside the slum, the challenges helped us come up with the idea to help children who were growing up like us. We had the heart but we could not do much financially. Tobias Rossmann after seeing the photos of kibera through social media approached one of us (Brian Otieno) who is the chairman of our organisation and also a photojournalist based in kibera if he could collaborate with him and form an organisation. Having the same idea we shared the news and we were ready to team up with him. Since day one, each of us has worked so hard towards our goal as an organisation, we’ve held several meetings with the children and did alot of activities without having our own place. The time we’ve been all waiting for has come, still we had alot of activities which we could not do without having an office because we had to keep records and store our equipment. This will come into reality in a weeks time when the building process will be complete. As a team we are very grateful for everyone who made this dream possible. Once the building process is through, we want to nurture the talents of these small kids  support their education in every way possible. To make all this possible the hall will act as a library and during the weekends it will be a meeting place for us with the kids. Thank for everyone for their continued support.

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