According to UNICEF, 70% of people living in Kampala live in slums.
With the total population of Kampala estimated at 1.6 million, that means that over 1 million people in Kampala are living in slums. With increasing rates of rural to urban migration, that figure looks set to rise substantially over the next few years. Yet most of the aid sent to Uganda, and the majority of charities working within the country, are focused on rural communities. Of course these communities suffer from many problems and do require a lot of help, but too often slum communities are overlooked and many organisations are reluctant to work in them.
Kampala’s slums are tough – overcrowding, poor sanitation, food insecurity, unemployment, high crime rates, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, and abject poverty are just a few problems I could mention. However, on top of all of this, they are often overlooked, ignored and refused help. People choose to walk the long way round the city to avoid them. Many NGOs and aid organisations are reluctant or fearful to intervene or get involved working there. Technically classified as illegal settlements, the government doesn’t do anything to help either. Yet, if 70% of people in Kampala live in slums, and this percentage is expected to rise over the next few years, then why is more not being done to support slum dwellers in Uganda?
Maybe it’s because Kampala’s slums are tough. These communities are messy, they suffer from many social problems as well as economic and environmental ones, and there is no easy ‘one size fits all’ solution to these numerous difficulties faced by people living in these communities. People from different tribes and cultures live in Kampala’s slums, people may live in one community for a while before being moved on to another place, which doesn’t make it easy to build a sense of community. Maybe it’s not as easy to see quick ‘results’ from working there. But that is because in reality, people lead messy lives and communities have complex problems, and Kampala’s slums are no different.
We care about people and meeting people where they are and helping them to overcome their problems, even if their problems seem complex or even impossible. We believe in listening to people to find out what their problems are and helping them to come up with creative solutions to their problems themselves. We want to see children and communities empowered, we want people living in these overlooked and stigmatized communities to feel loved and cared for, and we aren’t afraid of things getting messy or not turning out quite as expected in the process.
The reason we started doing what we do is that no one else was willing to get involved and support these children in Kampala’s slums so we felt we had to step in and do something. We are pleased to say that we have seen many lives transformed and communities empowered over the past 8 years.
If you would like any more information about the work that we do, or if you would like to get involved and help support our work in any way, please contact us.