In world’s poorest slums, landfills and polluted rivers become a child’s playground

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in Yangon's suburbs in Myanmar in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in the suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar, in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Worldwide, more than 340,000 children under age 5 died from diarrheal diseases in 2013 due to a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene. That’s 1,000 deaths a day, according to the UN’s statistics. What’s more, the No. 1 killer of children between the ages of one month to 5 years, pneumonia, can also be spread through a lack of hygiene.

Although much improvement has been made in the past decade to aid children across the globe, there are still alarming numbers who do not have access to clean water, proper sanitation or even just a way to clean their hands — especially after coming in contact with waste and feces.

“A gram of feces can contain ten million viruses,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Programme Division at UNICEF. “Many diseases are transmitted by pathogens going from feces to food and fingers and so on, making children ill.”

A boy swims in the polluted waters of the river Sabarmati to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2010. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted waters of the Sabarmati River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2010. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

One of the most basic hygiene problems that haunt developing communities is lack of adequate toilets. Around the world, about 2.5 billion people do not have proper toilets. Among them, 1 billion people defecate in the open — in fields, bushes and bodies of water — putting themselves and their community in danger of fecal-oral diseases, like hepatitis, cholera and dysentery.

Children are especially susceptible to these diseases when their home and “playgrounds” are overrun with rubbish and human waste. In countries throughout Asia, children can be seen swimming in polluted stagnant waters, digging through trash and playing amid toxic substances at landfills.

“When you have children running around barefeet, then coming in contact with excrete, it’s really easy to catch the worms and this of course impacts their development and growth,” said Dr. Aidan Cronin, Chief of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program at UNICEF Indonesia.

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in a slum area of Bangladesh's capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in this slum area of Bangladesh’s capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

Reuters photographers have been capturing scenes like this for the past decade. But even some of the oldest photos in this series picture grisly scenes that, sadly, are still the reality in urban slums today.

Not only do these conditions promote the spread of deadly childhood diseases, another major health problem that affects children’s lives is stunting, often caused by malnutrition but also by intestinal worms and internal inflammation from fecal-oral contamination.

Stunting has become a huge obstacle for many children’s physical and cognitive growth, ultimately affecting their development and ability to learn. In Indonesia alone, nearly 9 million children suffer from stunting, said Cronin.

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila December 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila, Dec. 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

In Indonesia, UNICEF have recently launched a campaign called “Tinju Tinja,” which means “punch the poo” in Indonesian, in support of the Government’s five-year plan to have a completely open defecation-free country. In an attempt to engage the urban youth, the campaign has one of the local rock stars, Melanie Subono, literally fighting the “poo monster” as the main image to spearhead the campaign.

“It all starts from acknowledging that [open defecation] is a serious problem,” Cronin said. “The more you engage with communities and work with them with their specific issues, the more sustainable sanitation is.”

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

One way to help children is through education and schools, said Dr. Jody Heymann, Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. A lot of progress has been made to make primary schools free and available for children around the world. In Indonesia, UNICEF works through primary schools to teach kids the importance of sanitation and hygiene by putting in clean toilets, hand washing stations and soap so that the kids can form a habit of cleaning.

“I think when we see [these] images, we should be asking not only ‘why isn’t there a playground? What’s leading them to the dump?’” said Heymann. “But the bigger question of what’s keeping them from being in school, gaining education that would give them lifelong opportunity.”

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

Sana, a five-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

Sana, a 5-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai, India, in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu October 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, southwest China's Guizhou province September 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, in southwest China’s Guizhou province Sept. 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in Tondo, Manila in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in the Tondo section of Manila, in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri October 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri, Oct. 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi November 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi Nov. 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amidst a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amid a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage during Easter Sunday in Manila April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage in the Philippines’ capital city on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati river after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati River after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Greenfire brings ways to clean the pullotants out of these landfills for the benefit of these acavengers. Thier nomadic lives have found a continuation of the poor lifestyle. Greenfire can turn the poverty into prosparity.  http://greenfirefunding.com/ 

Sanitation workers and scavengers pick their way through the refuse of the landfill in the Payatas district of Quezon City, Metro Manila. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

MANILA — What is it like living at the foot of a mountain of garbage?

The Payatas district in Quezon City, Metro Manila, has been called the city's "second Smokey Mountain" — a huge mound of refuse from which many scavengers scrape out a meager income.

Payatas is about a 40-minute drive from central Manila. There, on a spring day, a long column of garbage-laden trucks heads for the dump, billowing up dust. A foul smell is on the breeze.

A nearby hill gives a bird's-eye view of the dump. With a long camera lens one can get a clear look at the top of the massive garbage heap. As the trucks unload, sanitation workers and scavengers scramble.

The scavengers eke out a living collecting and selling metal and plastic scrap to dealers. In the Payatas district, they earn between 100 pesos and 300 pesos ($2 to $6) a day. It is less than the minimum wage, but better than nothing.

Smokey Mountain was the nickname of a large, smoldering landfill located in Manila's Tondo district. After it was shut down in 1995, many of the scavengers who lived there moved to Payatas. The community that arose became known as the second Smokey Mountain, though on this day there was no smoke visible.

Order amid chaos

The Quezon municipal government manages the Payatas landfill. There is a checkpoint at the entrance, through which only registered waste disposal workers and scavengers are allowed to enter.

The scavengers are divided into two groups of 400-500 people each, with the first group allowed to enter in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The dump is supposed to be off limits to children 15 years old or younger.

The entry restrictions were introduced in response to a landslide at the dump in 2000 that left about 300 people dead or missing.

 

 

But the landfill is expected to reach its capacity in a year or two. It is anyone's guess what will become of the community then.

These days, recycling garbage is not the only business in the area. Some people are making handicrafts such as stuffed animals with the help of a nonprofit organization, for example.

The Philippine economy continues to grow, but it will take time for the fruits of development to spread to impoverished areas like Payatas. People living at the foot of the garbage mountain will no doubt keep getting by as best they can, hoping for something better.

Source: Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Greenfire brings ways to clean the pullotants out of these landfills for the benefit of these acavengers. Thier nomadic lives have found a continuation of the poor lifestyle. Greenfire can turn the poverty into prosparity.  http://greenfirefunding.com/ 

Sanitation workers and scavengers pick their way through the refuse of the landfill in the Payatas district of Quezon City, Metro Manila. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

MANILA — What is it like living at the foot of a mountain of garbage?

The Payatas district in Quezon City, Metro Manila, has been called the city's "second Smokey Mountain" — a huge mound of refuse from which many scavengers scrape out a meager income.

Payatas is about a 40-minute drive from central Manila. There, on a spring day, a long column of garbage-laden trucks heads for the dump, billowing up dust. A foul smell is on the breeze.

A nearby hill gives a bird's-eye view of the dump. With a long camera lens one can get a clear look at the top of the massive garbage heap. As the trucks unload, sanitation workers and scavengers scramble.

The scavengers eke out a living collecting and selling metal and plastic scrap to dealers. In the Payatas district, they earn between 100 pesos and 300 pesos ($2 to $6) a day. It is less than the minimum wage, but better than nothing.

Smokey Mountain was the nickname of a large, smoldering landfill located in Manila's Tondo district. After it was shut down in 1995, many of the scavengers who lived there moved to Payatas. The community that arose became known as the second Smokey Mountain, though on this day there was no smoke visible.

Order amid chaos

The Quezon municipal government manages the Payatas landfill. There is a checkpoint at the entrance, through which only registered waste disposal workers and scavengers are allowed to enter.

The scavengers are divided into two groups of 400-500 people each, with the first group allowed to enter in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The dump is supposed to be off limits to children 15 years old or younger.

The entry restrictions were introduced in response to a landslide at the dump in 2000 that left about 300 people dead or missing.

 

 

But the landfill is expected to reach its capacity in a year or two. It is anyone's guess what will become of the community then.

These days, recycling garbage is not the only business in the area. Some people are making handicrafts such as stuffed animals with the help of a nonprofit organization, for example.

The Philippine economy continues to grow, but it will take time for the fruits of development to spread to impoverished areas like Payatas. People living at the foot of the garbage mountain will no doubt keep getting by as best they can, hoping for something better.

Source: Payatas scavengers living on Manila’s waste

Children Survive Scavenging Waste

 

Greenfire would like to share this tale about Small Steps Project. The life of Children of the Landfill is unimmagiably hard. It is good to see that the awareness of this harsh reality is expanding. 

 

By Amy Hanson from Small Steps Project

Last week a devastating landslide of rubbish on Koshe landfill site in Addis Ababa killed over 100 people. Unfortunately this is not the first and nor will it be the last. Thousands of children currently live on landfill sites and rubbish dumps, surviving from scavenging all over the world. This problem, resulting from mass production and consumption, continues to worsen, as the disposal of waste is not properly addressed. UK charity Small Steps Project aim to alleviate some of the humanitarian consequences by distributing emergency aid and providing sustainable solutions to child scavengers, helping them take small steps into a more healthy, dignified and productive life.

We assumed that this was usually a problem found in developing countries without the funds or skills to provide adequate solutions. That was until we started working within the EU, in Romania, which lacks neither of these, but where children still live and work on dumps.

Over the last four years, since we were called in by the UNDP to support the 0-7 year olds living in squalid conditions, on Pata Rat dump in Cluj, Romania, we have seen millions of euros pumped into the problem, but very little finds it’s way to the solution.

Waste management in Romania is in crisis, it is currently rated the worst for recycling in the EU. They have tried, to solve their waste problem through recycling centres, with EU funds, but despite the enormous amount of money spent, they have so far failed to create effective recycling centres, or employment for the parents or services for the children – including access to water, hygiene, nutrition and education.

The recycling centres have been built, but some stand empty and dysfunctional, as huge mountains of rubbish are dumped illegally, not in designated landfill sites.

The problem with the waste in Romania is not just that they can’t deal with processing it, but they neither can they deal with the people who live on it.

The irony is that the municipality who are given the funds with which to create solutions are the very people who created the problems- they are responsible for outsourcing to companies who spent millions on building facilities which were ineffective, and also for the forced evictions of many of the Roma community which lives on the dump site, and indeed placing them there.

In all the nine years that we have worked on dumpsites across the world, we have never seen so much plastic waste in an EU country as we see in Romania. They are so far behind in terms of waste education that no amount of money seems to help them.

We work in partnership with the local government municipality, which means that we have to collaborate with the people who caused the problems for the people we are trying to help.

We have found it difficult to tell whether the Romanian government wants to find solutions to these problems or whether they simply want to receive the funds for these problems.

When we first arrived on the dump, the municipality had provided a mobile unit, a safe place for the children of the dump to clean, eat, play and learn. However the shiny white warm space remained empty as the children, covered in mud played outside. The municipality had made a token gesture towards a solution, but with no one to run the centre it remained unused.

We stepped in to provide human resources and materials to make the unit functional for the children. Against all the odds, and with the water being regularly cut off, over the last 3 years we have managed to support over 100 beneficiaries, including not just the children but also mothers and babies. We have integrated all the 3-7 year olds into nursery off the dumpsite. And in the mobile unit we provide medical care, a mother& baby group, a toddler program and support for the 7+-year-old children.

But sadly, the situation has recently deteriorated, because the children have now had no water for over 6 months. In the EU with millions of euros of funding going to the government. It is pretty shocking that we encounter the same problems that face us in Asia.

We hope that having lent our expertise to Romania, and integrated the children into the school system, they will continue to support them and take responsibility for their futures. Spending funds on solutions rather than identifying obvious problems: the children require education, nutrition and hygiene. Similarly maybe a country with a proven track record of successful recycling, such as Sweden, might be able to lend their expertise to the Romanian waste crisis.

As it stands, to reach the EU target of 65% recycling by 2030 is looking very unlikely, despite EU financial support still flooding in, in what currently looks like a futile attempt to get Romania inline with the rest of Europe.

Small Steps Project also runs projects for child scavengers in Cambodia and Laos.

For more information on their current work see this 1 min short  and or visit website click here

 

Source: The children surviving by scavenging on rubbish tips…in Europe – The London Economic

Children Survive Scavenging Waste

 

 

Greenfire would like to share this tale about Small Steps Project. The life of Children of the Landfill is unimmagiably hard. It is good to see that the awareness of this harsh reality is expanding. 

 

By Amy Hanson from Small Steps Project

Last week a devastating landslide of rubbish on Koshe landfill site in Addis Ababa killed over 100 people. Unfortunately this is not the first and nor will it be the last. Thousands of children currently live on landfill sites and rubbish dumps, surviving from scavenging all over the world. This problem, resulting from mass production and consumption, continues to worsen, as the disposal of waste is not properly addressed. UK charity Small Steps Project aim to alleviate some of the humanitarian consequences by distributing emergency aid and providing sustainable solutions to child scavengers, helping them take small steps into a more healthy, dignified and productive life.

We assumed that this was usually a problem found in developing countries without the funds or skills to provide adequate solutions. That was until we started working within the EU, in Romania, which lacks neither of these, but where children still live and work on dumps.

Over the last four years, since we were called in by the UNDP to support the 0-7 year olds living in squalid conditions, on Pata Rat dump in Cluj, Romania, we have seen millions of euros pumped into the problem, but very little finds it’s way to the solution.

Waste management in Romania is in crisis, it is currently rated the worst for recycling in the EU. They have tried, to solve their waste problem through recycling centres, with EU funds, but despite the enormous amount of money spent, they have so far failed to create effective recycling centres, or employment for the parents or services for the children – including access to water, hygiene, nutrition and education.

The recycling centres have been built, but some stand empty and dysfunctional, as huge mountains of rubbish are dumped illegally, not in designated landfill sites.

The problem with the waste in Romania is not just that they can’t deal with processing it, but they neither can they deal with the people who live on it.

The irony is that the municipality who are given the funds with which to create solutions are the very people who created the problems- they are responsible for outsourcing to companies who spent millions on building facilities which were ineffective, and also for the forced evictions of many of the Roma community which lives on the dump site, and indeed placing them there.

In all the nine years that we have worked on dumpsites across the world, we have never seen so much plastic waste in an EU country as we see in Romania. They are so far behind in terms of waste education that no amount of money seems to help them.

We work in partnership with the local government municipality, which means that we have to collaborate with the people who caused the problems for the people we are trying to help.

We have found it difficult to tell whether the Romanian government wants to find solutions to these problems or whether they simply want to receive the funds for these problems.

When we first arrived on the dump, the municipality had provided a mobile unit, a safe place for the children of the dump to clean, eat, play and learn. However the shiny white warm space remained empty as the children, covered in mud played outside. The municipality had made a token gesture towards a solution, but with no one to run the centre it remained unused.

We stepped in to provide human resources and materials to make the unit functional for the children. Against all the odds, and with the water being regularly cut off, over the last 3 years we have managed to support over 100 beneficiaries, including not just the children but also mothers and babies. We have integrated all the 3-7 year olds into nursery off the dumpsite. And in the mobile unit we provide medical care, a mother& baby group, a toddler program and support for the 7+-year-old children.

But sadly, the situation has recently deteriorated, because the children have now had no water for over 6 months. In the EU with millions of euros of funding going to the government. It is pretty shocking that we encounter the same problems that face us in Asia.

We hope that having lent our expertise to Romania, and integrated the children into the school system, they will continue to support them and take responsibility for their futures. Spending funds on solutions rather than identifying obvious problems: the children require education, nutrition and hygiene. Similarly maybe a country with a proven track record of successful recycling, such as Sweden, might be able to lend their expertise to the Romanian waste crisis.

As it stands, to reach the EU target of 65% recycling by 2030 is looking very unlikely, despite EU financial support still flooding in, in what currently looks like a futile attempt to get Romania inline with the rest of Europe.

Small Steps Project also runs projects for child scavengers in Cambodia and Laos.

For more information on their current work see this 1 min short  and or visit website click here

Source: The children surviving by scavenging on rubbish tips…in Europe – The London Economic

Dying in silence Suffering of Syrian children at its worst millions under attack says UNICEF

There are now nearly 6 million Syrian children suffering from the perils of war, including hundreds who were killed, maimed or recruited to fight in 2016, the worst year on record for Syrian children, a UN watchdog has said.

“The depth of suffering is unprecedented. Millions of children in Syria come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down,”said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, speaking from Homs, Syria. “Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being and future.” 

'Growing up with war': Children of Syria share heartbreaking stories of death, fear & survival

 

 

 

At least 652 children died last year, and 255 of them were killed in or near their schools, the UNICEF report said. That signals a 20 percent increase on the number killed during 2015. 

“A father in Aleppo lives with the trauma of letting his daughters go to school,” Cappelaere said, retelling one of the many heart-breaking stories from the conflict. “They left their makeshift home one morning with their schoolbags on their backs. Only their lifeless bodies returned after a shell slammed into their classroom.”

UNICEF also believes more than 850 children were recruited to take part in hostilities – double the number in 2015 – and were used as executioners, suicide bombers or prison guards.

While horrifying, the number pales in comparison to the 5.8 million Syrian children who are dependent on humanitarian assistance – a twelvefold increase from 2012, the organization said.

“Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, children are dying in silence often from diseases that can otherwise be easily prevented. Access to medical care, lifesaving supplies and other basic services remains difficult,” the report added.

Almost half of those in need were displaced, many of them up to seven times, and over 2.3 million children are now living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

Child refugees living in relative safety in neighboring countries are still deprived of some basic needs, unable to go to school and forced to beg or do low-paying jobs to make the ends meet, the UNICEF report said.

Unsurprisingly, many children took life-threatening journeys on the so called ‘death boats’ crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

Inside Syria, 2.8 million children are living in hard-to-reach areas, including 280,000 living literally on the battlefield, almost completely cut off from humanitarian aid.

As the country’s welfare system shrinks, families “are taking extreme measures just to survive, often pushing children into early marriage and child labor,” the report said. “In more than two thirds of households, children are working to support their families, some in extremely harsh conditions unfit even for adults.”

“I don’t know how to read or write. I only know how to draw the sky, the sea and the sun. I’ve waited tables, I served beans, corn, hummus, water pipe, potatoes, seeds. I’ve cleaned the shop and served ice cream to children,” said Fares, a six-year-old Syrian boy now living in Lebanon.

READ MORE: ‘They don’t want to be refugees’: RT sees Syria’s children surviving through war

With the Syrian war about to enter its sixth year, more and more people have become food-insecure. Inadequate food as a result of the protracted violence leads to poor nutrition among children and is weakening their immune system, UNICEF said, stressing that even ordinary diseases are now fatal.

“The situation for Syrian children has hit rock bottom,” said Juliette Touma, UNICEF’s regional spokesperson.

“The past year has been the worst since the crisis began, with children pushed right to the brink – being recruited at an ever younger age, being used to man checkpoints, being trained to use weapons, serving as prison guards. We also have reports of sexual abuse of girls by underage children, so it’s very grim.”

 

Source: ‘Dying in silence’: Suffering of Syrian children at its worst, millions under attack, says UNICEF — RT News

Children refugees from Myanmar tell of trauma

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar tell of trauma

Some hid in rice fields, others ate only leaves while making the long journey by foot across the border into Bangladesh.

New arrivals are grateful for whatever support they can find [Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters]

Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh – Outside this town by the Bay of Bengal, we kept bumping into fresh arrivals when we visited the camps for Rohingya refugees fleeing a security crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.

Many of them said they were from the village of Kearipara in Myanmar. From the sounds of it, that village has been utterly devastated.

All of them shared similar stories: watching family members get murdered, hiding without eating for days, and having their homes burned down.

Several told us about having to sell their valuables – rings, piercings, earrings, whatever they had on them – to facilitate a safe passage into Bangladesh.

The route, which was always difficult and deadly, has become even more problematic.

After thousands of Rohingya were found stranded and starving off the coast of southern Thailand in the middle of last year, widespread international coverage forced the hands of governments of the region to crack down on a network of human traffickers who were exploiting the desperate refugees for cash.

But those very traffickers were also paradoxically the Muslim Rohingya's only hope to make it out of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar and get on the circuitous trek that would take them through Bangladesh and Thailand into the relatively safe haven of Malaysia.

Now, just getting across the border to Bangladesh is a tough proposition for the Rohingya.

The refugees we met described hiding in rice fields for days. Some didn't eat. Others ate only leaves they found in the forests on the hills surrounding the border.

 

They advanced a few minutes at a time, taking care to stop and check every few hundred metres to make sure the Myanmar army or border guards weren't lying in wait – making a long journey by foot even longer.

Arriving in Bangladesh didn't mean the ordeal was over. If they were caught by the authorities, some would be allowed through by the border guards, others would be turned back.

Every few hundred metres there were checkpoints manned by armed patrols. Next to each of them would be one or two Rohingya families who'd been caught.

Would the soldiers show clemency? Or would they be returned to the heart of the violence they were fleeing? They sat by the side of the road, unsure of their fate.

Tens of thousands have managed to get into Bangladesh. Many of them are in the unofficial Rohingya refugee camps near the tourist town of Cox's Bazar.

Their hosts are refugees themselves with little to offer in terms of food or shelter.

But the community was pulling together to do what they could, faced with the suffering of their fellow Rohingya.

The new arrivals were grateful for whatever support they could find, but seething with resentment at the lack of action by the international community.

Ethnic cleansing proof

As far as they are concerned, the world has decided that the Rohingya are expendable.

From the Bangladesh side of the border, the evidence of what the UN has called a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar seems strong.

Aung San Suu Kyi, in response, has said that blame shouldn't be cast until all the facts are known.

That's fair enough.

But one of the known facts is that the Myanmar government won't let journalists or independent observers enter the areas where large-scale violence is believed to be taking place.

Why keep journalists out if Myanmar authorities have nothing to hide?

  by 

 

 

 

Mike Prettyman,
Chief Information Officer at Green Fire Engineered Reclamation
For more information come to the website

Children of the Landfill Project

Green Fire Engineered Reclamation

Join our active groups on Markethive

Children of the Landfill
Green Fire Engineered Reclamation

Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest slums are shaping their futures

Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest slums are shaping their futures | Reuters

Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest are shaping their futures Students attend the morning parade at a school in Kenya’s Kibera slums in capital Nairobi, September 21, 2015. Kenya’s president on Sunday urged teachers who have been on strike for about three weeks to return to work, saying their demand for a pay rise of up to 60 percent could not be met. REUTERS/Noor Khamis  By Paola Totaro

   

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As the United Nations prepares a 20-year plan to cope with the challenges of booming urbanization, residents of the world’s five biggest slums are battling to carve out a place in the cities of the future.

Home to more than 900 million people worldwide – or nearly one in every seven people – the U.N. says slums are emerging spontaneously as a “dominant and distinct type of settlement” in the 21st century.

Today one quarter of the world’s city dwellers live in slums – and they are there to stay.

The U.N.’s 193 member states are set to adopt the first detailed road map to guide the growth of cities, towns and informal settlements, ensure they are sustainable, do not destroy the environment and protect the rights of the vulnerable.

Held once every 20 years, the U.N.’s Habitat III conference comes at a time when, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas.

In 2014, 54 percent of the global population lived in cities but by 2050, this is expected to rise to 66 percent.

“We live in the urban century … when planned, built, and governed well, cities can be massive agents of positive change,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a recent statement.

“They can be catalysts for inclusion and powerhouses of equitable economic growth. They can help us protect the environment and limit climate change. That is why we need a new vision for urbanization.”

The U.N.’s policy document, titled the , says there has been “significant” improvement in the quality of life for millions of city residents over the past two decades, but the pressures of population growth and rural-to-city migration are increasing dramatically.

Billy Cobbett, director of the Cities Alliance partnership for poverty reduction and promoting sustainable cities, said urban growth in many parts of the world, particularly Africa, is not driven by rural migration alone but by population growth.

The U.N. plan stresses that providing transport, sanitation, hospitals and schools is imperative but city strategies must also “go beyond” physical improvements to integrate slums into the social, economic, cultural, and political life of cities. Experts say this policy represents a significant shift in thinking among city planners and authorities who have historically seen bulldozers as the answer to slum settlements.

High-density communities geared to pedestrians along with properties that mix business with housing can offer lessons for management of future growth, they say.

Today, unchecked population growth and migration in many world cities – from Kenya to Mexico to India – mean slums and the informal economies and communities created around them must increasingly be seen as an important part of the wider city.

SECURITY FIRST

The U.N. roadmap highlights that a critical impediment to upgrading informal settlements and sustainable redevelopment is the lack of tenure or ownership of land or property.

In 2003, 924 million city dwellers were estimated to be without title to their homes or land and this number, according to the United Nations, is expected to have grown “exponentially”.

This is a particularly pressing problem in Africa where more than half the urban population – or 62 percent of people – live in shanty towns and 90 percent of rural land is undocumented.

Living without secure tenure means living under constant threat of eviction. Slum dwellers who have no way of proving ownership of assets also have no access to credit, further eroding any motivation to improve homes and neighbourhoods.

For governments, particularly in poorer countries, slum areas without title are a particularly vexed problem as the great majority are not mapped, little is known about demographics or spatial use, and the way residents have settled is often so dense that housing and services are hard to fit in.

The lack of basic information also means they cannot use the most commonly used official land registration systems.

Nairobi’s vast Kibera settlement – coming from the Nubian for forest or jungle – is described as Africa’s largest slum and comprises more than a dozen villages from Soweto East to Kianda.

A mix of ethnic groups make their home there although nobody knows exact numbers. According to the last Kenyan census, the population was 170,070 in 2009 but other sources, including the UN, estimate the settlement is now home to anywhere between 400,000 and one million people.

Much of Kibera’s employment comes from the nearby industrial area of Nairobi but an estimated half of Kibera’s residents are jobless, surviving on less than $1 a day. Only 27 percent of Kibera’s 50,000 students attend government schools, with most attending informal institutions set up by residents and churches, according to the charity Map Kibera. Violence, alcohol and drugs are rife and clean water scarce.

Kibera’s residents also struggle with no garbage services, free flowing sewage and the slum became infamous globally for the so–called ‘flying toilets’ – throw away plastic bags used by residents forced to relieve themselves outdoors.

Yet amidst the squalor there are many residents like Peter Nyagasera and his family who have worked tirelessly to improve their neighbourhood.

Nyagasera and his wife Sarah Oisebe up part of a former dump site in Kibera to create a playground for the resident-run school and a ‘s centre for orphans. For these children, he says, school is the only place they receive a hot meal each day.

But despite all their hard work, the community has been forced to mount a court challenge to stop construction of a road planned to cut through the area and demolish the school – and this community is not alone.

A second group of residents from the marginalised Nubian group are also without formal titles and fighting for ownership to protect their homes, many recently marked with red crosses for demolition to make way for the highway.

Their case will be heard in Kenya’s High Court in November but residents are despondent.

“Children will suffer,” said Nyagasera.

WORKING SLUMS

One of the toughest and most vulnerable aspects of life in the slums is the battle to find regular work. Cities are job hubs and proximity to employment has long been a major driver of slum development and expansion.

Globally, according to the International Labour Organization, 200 million people in slums were without jobs in 2013 while UNESCO estimates that more than a quarter of the young, urban poor earn little more than $1.25 a day.

Despite this, in many developing economies, the engine room of job creation is found in the heart of informal economies like those in the favelas of Rio or the bustling hives of activity in big Indian cities like Mumbai.

Author Robert Neuwirth spent four years researching his book, ‘Shadow Cities’, which looked at informal economies in global shanty towns. He believes these unlicensed economic networks are vastly under appreciated in scope and power and estimates they account for some 1.8 billion jobs globally.

“It’s a huge number and if it were all together in a single political system, this economic system would be worth $10 trillion a year. That would make it the second largest economy in the world,” he said.

In Mumbai, where an estimated one million people live in the bustling Dharavi slum, resident-owned small businesses – from leather workers and potters to recycling networks – have created an informal economy with annual turnover of about $1 billion.

Residents live and work in the same place and are now campaigning actively to ensure that any redevelopment of their homes or construction of new housing takes into account the need for home-based ground floor workspaces.

“People think of slums as places of static despair as depicted in films such as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’,” said Sanjeev Sanyal, an economist and writer, referring to the Academy Award-winning movie that exposed the gritty underbelly of Dharavi.

“If one looks past the open drains and plastic sheets, one will see that slums are ecosystems buzzing with activity… Creating neat low-income housing estates will not work unless they allow for many of the messy economic and social activities that thrive in slums,” he said.

Rahul Srivastava, a founder of Mumbai’s Institute of Urbanology, said the biggest impediment to upgrading informal settlements is their “illegitimate” status due to the absence of title.

Settlements that are home to fifth-generation migrants cannot be classed as “informal”, he says, and it is high time the narrow perception of these neighbourhoods is changed.

DYING FOR A PEE

In Cape Town, the shanty towns of Khayelitsha stretch for miles, a grim brown sea of ramshackle wood and iron shacks that confront visitors arriving at the airport but are out of view of the city’s glass towers or the leafy suburbs on nearby hills.

Khayelitsha’s population, according to the 2011 Census, is 99 percent black. Jean Comaroff, a Harvard professor of anthropology and African Studies, said despite “valiant efforts” from city authorities and activists in recent years, Cape Town itself still offers little room for its slum residents beyond “servitude” – work as domestics or in the service industries.

“It is poised on a knife edge and the differences between the beauty of the city itself and what you see on the Cape flats is the starkest you will ever see in the world.” she said.

In Cape Town, city authorities are not only struggling with providing housing and sanitation for a burgeoning population but face the task of trying to reverse the apartheid era engineering that built the spatial segregations that still exist today.

Experts say that not only is there not enough new affordable housing but what has been built remains distant from employment, forcing long commutes for those who are lucky enough to work. Inside, however, residents are struggling – and at times losing their lives – due the absence of the most basic service – toilets.

According to the Social Justice Coalition’s Axolile Notywala, using a toilet can be one of the most dangerous activities for residents and a major problem for women and children.

A Commission of Inquiry into Policing in the shanty towns in 2012 found that 12,000 households have no access to toilets and the link between violence, particularly against women and children, and the need to walk long distances at night was highlighted by researchers and activists. A mathematical model built by Yale University researchers last year concluded that doubling the number of toilets to 11,300 in Khayelitsha would reduce sexual assaults by a third.

“Higher toilet installation and maintenance costs would be more than offset by lower sexual assault costs,” lead researcher Gregg Gonsalves told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

DIY SERVICES

Across the world in Pakistan, Orangi Town in the port city of Karachi is believed home to around 2.4 million people although nobody knows exactly as the last census was in 1998.

Widely cited as Asia’s largest slum, it sprawls over 8,000 acres – the equivalent of about 4,500 Wembley football pitches.

Known locally as “katchi abadis”, the first informal settlements emerged in the wake of the Indo-Pakistani war of 1947, which led to a huge influx of refugees. Unable to cope with the numbers – by 1950 the population had increased to 1 million from 400,000 – the government issued refugees “slips” giving them permission to settle on any vacant land.

The settlement’s population really exploded in the early 1970s when thousands of people migrated from East Pakistan after the 1971 war of independence, which led to the establishment of the Republic of Bangladesh.

Since then, land has also been traded informally, usually through a middleman who subdivided plots of both government and private land and sold them to the poor.

Unlike many other slums worldwide the lack of services – not housing – is the major problem.

Communities have built two and three-room houses out of concrete blocks manufactured locally, say activists. Each house is home to between eight and 10 people and an informal economy of micro businesses has emerged as people created livelihoods.

In the early 1980s, however, some residents within the enormous slum decided they’d had enough of waiting for governments unwilling or unable to fund sanitation and so embarked on building a sewerage project on a “self-help” basis.

Now globally renowned, the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) has helped residents design, fund and build their own sewerage systems and pipelines and, since 1980, has brought latrines to more than 108,000 households in a project continuing today.

To date, say OPP statistics, 96 percent of the settlement’s 112,562 households have latrines with residents footing the bill of 132,026,807 Pakistani rupees ($1.26 million) – all DIY.

“In fact, people in the town now consider the streets as part of their homes because they have invested in them and that’s why they maintain and clean the sewers too,” said OPP’s director, Saleem Aleemuddin. 

BOTTOM UP DEVELOPMENT

Jose Castillo, an urban planner and architect in Mexico City, says that Ciudad Neza, home to 1.2 million people, should serve as a model for other blighted urban areas and slums.

Short for Nezahualcóyotl, Neza sits on the bed of Lake Texcoco which was slowly drained in a bid to combat devastating flooding over a century and more. owever the dry land ended up being too salty for farming and was slowly picked up by developers who laid out a grid of streets and sold off boxy parcels, most without proper titles.

The settlement really grew in a burst of urban migration in the mid-20th century when new arrivals to Neza set up shacks of wood and cardboard, living without electricity, a sewage system or running water, schools or paved roads. Old timers remember in the early days they’d be lucky if a bus came every two hours.

Victoria Gomez Calderon, 82, moved to Neza from eastern Mexico as a young woman, and remembers clearly the putrid remains of the lake just a half block from her tiny home.

“It was a pure wasteland,” she said.

In the early 1970s, residents banded together to demand services and a government programme to formalise ownership and provide land titles.

Neza’s reputation as the world’s largest slum, coined when its population was combined with two other blighted areas decades ago, no longer applies, they said.

Today, despite its severe problems from continuing poor access to transport and schools to high crime rates, Neza’s development holds lessons in growth and resilience for others.

Planner Castillo says Neza is teeming with micro entrepreneurs working from home or sharing spaces in what would be called co-working in trendier places.

“My argument is let’s stop asking what urban planning can do to fix the city and let’s focus on understanding where we could also learn from those processes,” he said. “There’s a strong sense of pride in place. It’s a community based on the notion that jointly these people transformed this territory.”

Priscilla Connolly Dietrichsen, a professor of urban sociology at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, agrees.

“The story isn’t, ‘Oh dear, dear, what a terrible slum.’ In a way, it’s a success story, in spite of the present problems,” she said.

SLUMS ARE CITIES

The 23-page draft document up for adoption at Habitat III in Quito is the result of months of closed-door negotiations, held in several nations, including Indonesia and the United States.

Some critics are disappointed the policy framework contains no tangible targets and will be non-binding on member states.

“It’s easy for governments to sign something that is not enforceable,” said Michael Cohen, a former senior urban affairs official with the World Bank, who has advised U.N. Habitat.

“It doesn’t have much bite. It talks a lot about commitments but has no dates, places or numbers.” Supporters, however, argue the New Urban Agenda will not only focus attention on the urgent need for holistic planning of cities but also work to fundamentally change the way urban growth is debated and discussed both nationally and globally.

Important drivers of planned growth are a well-oiled system of land ownership, title and tenure which then paves the way for governments to collect revenue to pay for new services.

Equally important is the need for concerted planning approaches so new hospitals, bus services, and schools are placed where they are needed with thought given to future growth and employment opportunities.

There has, however, also been some criticism of the U.N.’s shift from a traditionally rural focus to a city driven, urban one and its failure to link the New Urban Agenda to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and climate change benchmarks.

Shivani Chaudry, executive director of the Housing and Land Rights Network in India, said the bias away from rural interests in the New Urban Agenda will leave many people behind.

She said many countries had argued forcefully for the adoption of goals and targets, for example a reduction in numbers of the homeless, increases in housing for the poor or a drop in forced evictions, but nothing was agreed.

“Rural populations have not been adequately represented: farmers, forest dwellers, indigenous and coastal communities – all suffer the consequences of uncontrolled urbanization,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“There is so much exploitation of these people and our fear is that so many have been left out.”

(Reporting by Paola Totaro, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest slums are shaping their futures | Reuters

Uganda to shut down Zuckerberg-funded schools – CNN.com

They are profit making enormously

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/25/africa/uganda-schools-zuckerberg-gates/

africa, Uganda to shut down Zuckerberg-funded schools – CNN.com

Uganda’s High Court has ordered Bridge International Academies, which is funded by the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to shut down their 63 schools.

Uganda Bridge
Pupils from Bridge International Academies protest after Uganda’s High Court ordered the closure of its low-cost private schools
What kind of business logic is involved in the decision to put a “FOR PROFIT” school system in one of the poorest countries in the world.
If we order the countries according to their GDP per capita, Uganda is in 178 th position. According to this parameter, its population is among the poorest of the 196 countries whose GDP we publish.
We at Green Fire are dedicated to raising up the poorest of the , an ever growing population.
If you are interested please review our websites

Mike Prettyman,
Chief Information Officer at Green Fire Engineered
For more information come to the website

Children of the Landfill Project

Green Fire Engineered Reclamation

Face book Page

 

Street kids struggle for survival in Kenya

Street kids struggle for survival in Kenya

 

By AFP

There is no official figure on the number of homeless children in Kenya, a sign of the lack of interest by Kenyan authorities of the problem.

Kenyastreetchildren 350x210

Ragged, hungry and rejected by society, thousands of street children abandoned by nearly all live in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

There is no official figure on the number of homeless children in Kenya, a sign of the lack of interest by Kenyan authorities of the problem.

One estimate, by the Consortium of Street Children (CSC), an international charity, suggests the number of street children could be as high as between 250,000 and 300,000 throughout Kenya, including 60,000 in Nairobi alone.

In the district of Mlango Kubwa in central Nairobi, a former landfill is a refuge for street children, who call it “the base”.

Here they sleep on the hard floor, close to the rubbish dumps where they scavenge for scraps to make some profit, but at least the place is safe from outside eyes.

A few hours after dawn, some children are still lying on the ground, the plastic bottles from which they sniff glue beside them. Other spaces are empty, with those youngsters having headed off to work, begging on the streets.

“When people see some of these kids, they do not take them as human beings,” said Moha, himself a former street child, who escaped the tough life, and ekes out a living now dancing alongside bands. “When people see them sniffing glue and dirty, they beat them or insult them.”

Some children are pushed onto the street following the death of parents — sometimes due to HIV/AIDS — or after running away from violence at home. Others live on the street simply because their families are too poor to look after them.

– ‘Act of despair’ -“It is quite difficult to describe the situation… you find if they sleep outside someone’s shop, in the morning, instead of the owner waking them up gently, they kick them or even pour water on them,” Moha said.

Many leave their rural areas – where traditional community ties have loosened – for cities, where they have more chance of surviving by begging, finding odd jobs, scavenging rubbish sites, or prostitution.

Abandoned by the state, several charities offer help. Alfajiri is one of them, a project set up by Australian artist Lenore Boyd, who offers drawing lessons.

“It’s just to invite the kids, to get them to create. It’s not to teach them, it’s not to impose anything on them,” Boyd said. “It’s to say: ‘Tell your story’. They’re very focused and they do lovely work… they tell the stories in their heart and they just enjoy themselves.”

When Boyd walks the streets of the slum, children throw themselves at her, finding friendship and love they otherwise lack.

“Everybody needs to think about the way they’ve been treated, and why they’re living on the streets, and suffering on the streets,” Boyd said. “These kids are traumatised, they are kids who had huge suffering, they’re abandoned… going to the streets is an act of despair.”

– ‘Selling their bodies’ -Girls face an especially tough time.

The Rescue Dada Centre — ‘Girl Rescue’ Centre in Swahili – has been supporting the rehabilitation of street girls in Nairobi for over two decades.

Composed of a dormitory and classrooms, the centre is home to 70 girls. It offers psychological support as well as education, and leads efforts to reunite them with their families.

“The life in town is very difficult, one sleeps out in the cold where you are rained on, sometimes you find that you wake up and find that one of your colleagues has died,” said Janet, 16, who just recently joined the centre. “Others even end up selling their bodies in order to get money to buy food.”

Of the girls admitted in 2014, almost a third were victims of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, some the victims of gang rape. Many are forced to become prostitutes, with a high risk of contracting AIDS.

“Rehabilitation can take a lot of time,” said the centre’s director Mary Njeri Gatitu. But she struggles on, providing what help she can.

“It is a drop of water in an ocean, because the issue of poverty in Kenya is not being addressed by the government,” she added.