Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thousands of Kiberans Displaced

An article came to my attention yesterday that left me discouraged and saddened. Over 5,000 people in the Soweto region of Kibera have been evicted from their homes with less than 5 days notice. The Kenya government is demolishing their homes to build new government housing. How can this happen, you ask? Kibera is not recognized by the government and therefore all the people who live there are technically living there illegally. The people of Kibera do not have the same rights as other Kenyan citizens, especially when it comes to property.

While I support the Kenyan government trying to create better living conditions for the people of Kibera, I have to think that there is a better way to go about doing it. Over 5,000 people were given 5 days to move from their homes, most with nowhere to go. Some residents didn't hear about the demolition until the bulldozers arrived. The government has provided no contingency plan for the people they have displaced. Yet again, the needs of Kiberans have been pushed to the side. The Kenyan government and aid groups often fail to listen to the actual people of Kibera and impose their own beliefs of what is best upon them.

It is easy for me to criticize and yet I, myself, do not have a solution. The one thing I can do is encourage dialogue. Dialogue and support that comes alongside the people of Kibera and does not dictate to them how they should live their lives.

For more information about what is going on in Kibera and footage on the ground check out this article from The Atlantic Cities.

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