…THE SLUM

In 2012, one in eight of the world’s population lives in slums. According to UN figures, it is expected that over 900 million people will live in slums by 2020, and over a billion by 2037. This makes this way of life the most growing in urban areas in the world. In Nepal´s capital, Kathmandu, slums have emerged in large numbers over a forty year period. In search of a safer and economically better life, many people have migrated from rural areas to the most urban parts of the Kathmandu Valley. Very few people have the economy to purchase a housing, therefore many choose to establish communities on unused state property.

Tirtha Gopal Shrestha (29) and Sanita Rai (19) live in Buddhamarga Tol, one of the oldest and well-functioning slums of the city. The small community lies along the Bagmati river which runs through Kathmandu. Tirtha shares a little, green house with his ​​parents and elder sister. He supports his family by working as a mechanic at his uncle’s metal workshop, and enjoys hanging out with friends in his spare time.
– I love my life in the community. My family and friends are always around, why would I want to move somewhere else, says Tirtha.

Sanita also lives with her parents and has a five year old daughter, Sayon. Living as a single mother, Sanita is trying to finish school and is also training to become a beautician.
– As much as I like living here, I some day hope I will be able to live and work in a country in the Golf-region. I will never have a stable economy by living in Nepal, says Sanita.

On May 8th 2012 the Nepalese government started evicting a number of slum communities in Kathmandu. This action is a part of the governments desire to develope the populated land into public parks. To date, Tirtha and Sanita´s homes and the rest of Buddhamarga Tol has yet to be demolished. Tomorrow they might not have a home.

 

Story by Benjamin A. Ward
www.benjaminward.no