The Dutch project Cameras for Kibera is aimed towards helping young Kenyans become video journalists in order to help them tell the stories about Africa’s largest slum. Kibera, Nairobi is home to possibly as many as 2.5 million people who live in crowded conditions of poor sanitation, poor housing and very little possibilites. For the most part, the plight of the people who live there has been largely overlooked which is one reason for the video project. This particular video was created by Rocketboom Field Correspondent Ruud Elmendorp who videotaped one of Camera for Kibera’s video journalists at work.
The thing I like about this project is its matter of fact approach. It shows people having a life despite the odds, but also points to the fact that help is urgently needed without making the people themselves sound pitiful. Cameras for Kibera is an offshoot project of the Dutch Hot Sun Foundation. If you have video camera you’re no longer using, here’s a possibility for putting it to use.
Some feel the extra attention could bring reform to the region, putting pressure on the government to provide aid for the slum-dwellers. But others feel these are nothing more than “pity tours” that, according to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, label the Kiberan people as the “custodians of backwardness, filth, misery and absolute deprivation.”
“They see us like puppets, they want to come and take pictures, have a little walk, tell their friends they’ve been to the worst slum in Africa,” car-wash worker David Kabala told Reuters.
The tours, like most attention the region receives, fail to pick up on the “untold stories,” said Christine Ochieng, a 20-year-old office worker. There’s a number of middle-class Kiberans who have the money to leave, but decide to stay because moving out would mean a life of relative solitude. Plus, there’s an enormous amount of art, dance, drama and sports projects in the area that are overlooked by those focused on the poverty.
What do you think? Would you take a slum tour? Do you think it’s important for people to see, or is this just another way we’re exploiting the people of Kibera?