On July 3rd, 2018, notice was given to residents of Kibera that their homes were to be demolished. These homes lay on the route of a new link road currently under construction.
Official notification of the planned demolition for the new road

With less than 2 weeks to prepare, those living in the affected area were expected to gather what they could carry and find somewhere else to go. In addition, the order was for residents to demolish their own homes or face fines for not doing so.
On the route lay hundreds of homes plus shops, clinics, and schools. All were to be removed in a single day of destruction.

Map showing the strip of Kibera designated to be cleared for construction

International Reaction

Outrage spread quickly.
Legal challenges were launched in an attempt to halt the demolition.
Major organisations eg. Amnesty International, held protests and marches.
Concern grew over the number of people who would be displaced, losing the majority of their possessions and any security they had built for their families.

The demolition was completed

Despite efforts from residents, NGOs, and international pressure groups, the route of the new link road was cleared.
Some left with only what they could carry. Many had no idea where they were going to go.
The devastation affected everyone from babies to the elderly and from shop owners to schoolchildren.

Future Stars is safe, but not unaffected

Future Stars Development Centre is not close to this area of demolition. The centre itself has been unaffected. However, the same can’t be said for some of the children who use the centre.
Today we introduce you to two boys who have been attending the primary school at Future Stars since January 2017. Meet Shadrack Ombongl and Obed Nyabwari, 14-year-old twins whose home was amongst those reduced to nothing.

A tragic story

Shadrack and Obed lived with their single mother. Their father was killed in a road accident, leaving their mother struggling to support the family alone.
The boys began school at Future Stars in January 2017 when it became clear that they would otherwise be unable to continue the education they had begun when their father was alive.
When their home was demolished, the little family became homeless and owned only what they could carry. Essentially, they were refugees without a war. With nowhere to stay in Kibera, the twins’ mother made the heartbreaking decision to leave Nairobi and return to rural Kenya – to a village where living costs are lower than in the slum.

A broken family

Shadrack and Obed were taken in by Future Stars to provide them with a safe place to stay and a chance to continue their education. Initially, it was hoped that their mother would be able to find a new home in Kibera and the family could be reunited. Whilst their mother continues to explore options for the family’s future, it is now looking unlikely that she will return to Nairobi.

A safe place

Rural Kenya provides limited opportunities for education and employment. By joining the residential children of Future Stars, Shadrack and Obed will have a chance to complete their education and build a stronger future for themselves and to provide for their mother.
It is extremely sad to see these two boys separated from their mother and having lost almost all of their, already minimal, possessions. Hopefully, the love and care at Future Stars will help to heal the pain and the twins will take full advantage of the opportunities open to them .

Obed and Shadrack at Future Stars and smiling
Will the people who drive along that road ever remember the people who lived there? Will they remember lives disrupted, families separated, and dreams abandoned? Perhaps it’s just the price of progress, but that’s for everyone to decide for themselves.

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