Based on the Soweto and Kanyogoga slum areas situated in the outskirts of Kampala. The situation there is in dire need of major outreach. What is mostly alarming about these slum areas is that they are the backyard of the rich and affluent households which are close to the famous Lake Victoria. One of the most noticeable things when you arrive is the lack of quality housing and accommodation coupled with a number sanitation issues with dirt and lack of clean water as the most outstanding issues. One can also easily notice the muddy slum conditions due to a combination of swampy areas, ever pouring rain and crowded living conditions. Due to the heightened conditions water borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, Ebola and malaria can easily bread and thrive in such conditions. Some of the cases encountering these diseases even end up with death.
The majority of the most vulnerable people there consist of women and children, as you will witness a number of children some fetching water and some playing close to ungoverned and unclean water sources. It is also evident that there is a lack of clean water supply and energy to sustain these households.
A common characteristic of these slums is women having to fend for a large number of children while man seem not be present. This is not true all throughout, however the number of single headed families is alarming, in which women are the heads and the most hardworking members of the family. Some women have chased away their partners, others have been deserted by their partners which has become a common trend in the slums. As such some women are widows and all these groups are left to source food and provide shelter for ever-growing households.
Also in some cases other children are left as orphans due their parent either dying or running away. On top of these looming issues most families lack a stable income and as such cannot provide basic needs such as education, food, clean water, sanitation and good housing. A number of families are seen to share a one room shelter amongest numbers varying from 2 to numbers even over 10. Some of the little space in the room used as sleeping space at night and most of the day used to store their belongings.
It is clear that these slums are in dear need of change and sustainable change thereof. Most families base their income on women washing clothes in surrounding urban areas, selling vegetables, fish and cooked food stuffs, while their male counterparts survive on sporadic part time jobs in construction and other manual work. These jobs are however not consistent and sustainable and leave them desiring more money to fend for their families.
In recognition of all the above Rafiki Social Organisation (https://rafikivision.org/) and Hopeful Hearts Academy are attempting curb the levels of poverty and suffering in the slums. With an overwhelming burden on their hands, where for example there have to do the difficult job of picking the most vulnerable families amongst an already troubled community? Even after identifying these families the organisation and school still have to pick one or two children leaving others, to provide education.
The organisation is a start-up that is also attempting to facilitate mentorship and entrepreneurship skilling among the women from these communities so they can be financially sustainable (https://rafikivision.org/programs/). The challenges faced in the slums most times leaves the organisation grasping straws and in need of wider collaboration from surrounding society.
Challenges such as funding and the availability of appropriate support rank highest in these instances where facilities are scarce and the demand is high. The school and organisation have social field workers that identify the most vulnerable families and even with these, they find themselves vetting over an overwhelmingly larger population of those in need every day. The school Hopeful Hearts Academy can only accommodate so much and toppled with lack of resources, it does not make this an easy task. Today the responsibility to tackle extreme poverty lies on the shoulders of each and every global citizen, which is why Soweto, Kanyogoga and other slum areas in around Kampala need you to reach out a hand, for our women and children. According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300) and according to the laws of our humanity everyone deserves a sustainable future, free of poverty and free of suffering and that change can only begin with you, with us as a world community.
Written by Baynes Ceekay Ncube
Pictures taken by Baynes Ceekay Ncube