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Snapshots of Nairobi: Mathare Slum

A Walk Through Mathare Slum

A friend, Tash Malaba and I had the privilege of being guided on a walk through Mathare Slum in the East of Nairobi by a local photographer. The slum is Nairobi's oldest and stretches for seven kilometres along a river valley. It is home to over 400,000 people, many of whom live in poverty. The neighbourhood lacks even the most basic amenities such as sanitation, clean running water, electricity and passable roads. Access to the majority of the slum is only on foot. The area is well known for illegal activities such as prostitution, drugs, illegal alcohol production and gangsterism. It is also in close proximity to Eastleigh, known as a recruiting ground for Islamic militant group, Al Shabaab. Yet everywhere one goes in Mathare, residents are involved in creative entrepreneurial activities and there are numerous NGOs and foundations working to improve the lives of residents, particularly children and young people.

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