Although one of the richest countries in black Africa, Kenya nevertheless has immense problems to overcome in unemployment, housing and education.
GV PAN Eastlands shanty town in Nairobi (2 shots)
SV Children outside hut
SV & CU Wanjiku with her twins outside hut (3 shots)
GV Women in shanty town
SV PAN Wood collector Naftali Kamanga Kamanga
GV ZOOM IN Children sitting by rubbish bin
CU Kamanga eating bread and drinking tea
CU Sculpture of Kamanga on table (2 shots)
SCU Edward Njenga speaking in English with overlays of his sculpture, the community that he lives in and the Eastleigh Community Centre (11 shots)
SV Kamanga walks down road in shanty town
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 9: NJENGA: "We have an old man here by the name of Najtali Kamanga who came in the town a long time ago, he has been working around but now he has nothing to feed himself, he has to resort collecting firewood to obtain some food in the evening. These are inspirations of my work as a social worker. I just put them into my sculptures so that people can see what the centre does to care for the needy people of Eastleigh and (indistinct). It has been not very easy to run the centre, but now we are able to give the people who come to us in the centre something for their own livelihood. At the same time there are other activities, like social work in general, for all the other people who cannot come to work at the centre -- and they need our help. We have to rely mainly on donations that are given to the centre. And we are happy to get donations of any kind -- we need old clothing, food and money to care for the people who are not able to be employed in projects like weaving, pottery, rug weaving."
More than a place to learn skills which might enable people to find a job in an essentially jobless market, the Eastleigh Centre is a pivot upon which the poor community depends. It keeps the children off the streets, where hey are tempted to steal to stay alive, helps those in need, advises people on countless problems and occasionally provides employment. Visnews cameraman Ian McMinn says that it is within such an environment that Edward Njenga has been inspired to fashion statues which have won acclaim in Africa and Europe. Njenga refuses to sell his work, choosing instead to exhibit it as a means of making money for the centre. He sees this as his contribution to his fellow Kenyans who have not been fortunate enough to win a place within the wealthier elements of their society.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Although one of the richest countries in black Africa, Kenya nevertheless has immense problems to overcome in unemployment, housing and education. The differences between rich and poor are not confined to the obvious example of foreign tourists versus street beggars. Within Kenyan society itself there are rich men who live in luxury and send their children to god schools -- while unemployment runs at about 80 per cent and many hundreds of thousands of people struggle for survival in conditions of extreme poverty.
SYNOPSIS: In Nairobi alone 200,000 people live in shanty towns like this one in the Eastlands district. If their children get to school at all it is only for a short time and the shanty dwellers face the constant threat of eviction.
This is Wanjiku who lives in the Eastlands shanty town with her twin daughters. Without a husband, she does part time work and makes a little money by drawing water for the rest of the shanty town dwellers.
And this is Naftali Kamanga. Aged over 75 he sometimes works at the Eastleigh Community Centre -- one of six that attempt to improve the lives of Nairobi's poor. It is run by a remarkable man called Edward Njenga, who gave up a promising career as a sculptor to devote his life to social work. But, as he explains, his talent plays a part in the overall success of the centre.
The centre runs on GBP 20,000 sterling (40,000 U.S. dollars) a year. The government contributes GBP 250.00 (500 U.S. dollars) -- the rest comes from donations and the sale of handicrafts.