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Kwangware Slum

Currently, African LEAF is operating on the outskirts of Nairobi and in particular supporting orphans and vulnerable children from the Kawangware Slum. In Kawangware slum entire families live in a one-room wooden or concrete cube with perhaps one window that looks out into a warren of other similar cubes. They all share one bed, cook on small coal barbeques, and wash themselves in this one small space.

Decent food is hard to come by or expensive. The supply of water is neither safe nor adequate. Slum residents are forced to travel long distances and wait in long queues to buy water and often, this water is not safe for drinking. Others use sewage-contaminated water from nearby rivers. Unsanitary living conditions – there are no toilets and human excrement and waste litter the streets, gutters and waterways – means that health problems are endemic. Diarrhea and vomiting, typhoid, cholera, TB, malaria, worm infestation, pneumonia, skin problems (scabies, ringworms) are rife.

HIV/AIDS is prominent. The coping mechanisms for caring for people with AIDS, orphans and widows through extended social networking are overwhelmed. As a result, there is an increase in the number of street children, prostitution, suicide and the isolation of infected individuals. Those who are left orphaned face the daily traumas of finding food, dry and warm conditions at night and avoiding the constant threat of sexual predators, sometimes even within their extended family where they are often the last in the food chain and essentially left to fend for themselves, rather than being cared for.