Residents in Kenya’s second largest slum, Mathare, endure hard lives often without basic needs and social amenities.
Mathare slum dwellers not only struggle to afford basic necessities, but also opportunities to develop and rise from their plights.
A Chinese group is however helping residents of the slum beat the odds to overcome their hardships.
The Dream Building Service Association (DBSA) has initiated various projects around Mathare, that help the residents find opportunities and nurture their talents.
The Chinese organisation has among other things helped renovate schools in the slum to offer better learning environments for the children, initiated talents search and breeding programs and also helped build bridges between the two different cultures – Chinese and Kenyan.
DBSA in August held a carnival to bring together residents of the slum to showcase their talents and meet players within various art programs.
The carnival included events such as talent show, art exhibition, football tournament and much more.
DBSA co-founder Liu Yimenghan hailed the impact that the annual carnival has had on Mathare residents since it was started in 2014.
“Through the talent show, we started having trainings for the teenagers to showcase their talents and empower their talents. And through the soccer matches – every year that we do – we form a DBSA soccer team and we give them training three times a week to strengthen their soccer skills and play friendly matches with other teams,” Liu says. “And through the feeding program we increased our enrollments to the schools. For example, at the Chang Rong Light Center, we started with 275 children in the school but now we have 420 students enrolled in the school. And of course the teachers and the management have been increased and improved.”
For Liu and his fellow Chinese associates, there is still much more to come from DBSA. The organisation hopes to play a bigger role in boosting China-Kenya relations, with a keener focus on the understanding of both cultures by the two nationalities.