An eye-opening visit to the Gioto Garbage Slum Project

Share this post Kenya | Chirag Virani | Hetal Virani

After completing my grad program at UC – Berkeley, I took a gap year to pause, unplug and rediscover myself. I wanted to put my business and engineering skills to a good use while I travelled around the world. Traveling, teaching, staying at orphanages and working with different NGOs has helped me develop a broader perspective on many areas of life. It also helped me gain valuable experience before starting an NGO, United World Foundation, in India.

During my volunteer trip to Kenya, we went to a few outreach programs organized by Fadhili Community. Through the outreach program volunteers assisted slum dwellers in nearby areas through initiatives such as medical camps, HIV counselling, teaching and feeding programs.

After visiting the KCC slum project and Vumilia IDP Camp all volunteers who participated in the Fadhili Community Outreach Program went to visit the Gioto Garbage Slum Project.

Gioto Garbage Slum is a located on the outskirts of Nakuru. Massive piles of garbage had accumulated near the slum area after five decades of dumping. Around 130 families who lived in the slum relied on collecting and selling recyclable materials from the garbage. On days when recycling did not generate sufficient funds for daily meals, they had to go through piles of rubbish to search for food.

As soon as we got out of our Matatu at the Gioto Slum, the first thing we noticed was the intense smell of garbage and blistering heat from the burning of garbage. It was a true wakeup call for where the humanity was headed. The inequality in quality of life that I had seen in North America compared to an individual living in the garbage slum was eye-opening. We saw giant pigs, vultures and young kids all scavenging for food from a same pile of garbage.

Before we left for this trip, we prepared food packets of cooking fat, rice and flour which they could use in case they did not have any other food to prepare daily meals. Although it was a short term solution, all the volunteered pitched in since it was better than doing nothing at all.

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