Transformations Grow In Kampala’s Ghettos - DreamTown

growing mushrooms in bags

A local youth center grows mushrooms in bags and sells them at the k-zone market.

Life in the K-zones, as the Kampala lowland slums are named, is filled with struggle for security, health and possibilities.
(The last years the weather in Uganda is experienced as more unpredictable and the talk goes on climate change. The forecast is flooded areas, deadly mudslides and perfect places for water born diseases.)

The Kampala slums are capable to cast any life into decay, but as they are a product of the ever growing city and structures of society they will remain.

Though, in the unmanageable life in the ghetto progression and activism finds its way and can transform the city spaces and humans living there. By taking a closer look you will see inhabitants in the K-zones are connecting and creating possibilities for the dreams of a good life.

Change starts with yourself
Melisa Namujju Brenda, 23 years, lives in the Kampala K-zone, Kyebbando and have both the experience of kholera and how basic tasks are added a dash of struggle caused by her area of living. Besides working as an educated accountant she is one of the 30 community Journalist team engaged in the #GhettoGoGreen Project.  She is eager to be part of improving the space of living, starting in the areas she knows like home:

“I believe that change is not something that you can wait for. Everybody holds the potential of taking control of his or her own life, but for some people the everyday holds just to many struggles. I feel im living a gifted life and therefore holds a responsibility to do what I can.”

Dialogue, engagement through (new media) community journalism
The aim of the community journalists are to take active part of the K-zone communities and through this access endorse the dreams and initiatives through listening and creating stories that can be shared through different media platforms.

“By being a community journalist I can use my knowledge and network in the K-zone to ask questions about their dreams and how they are engaging in the change. I get to know a lot of different ways to engage in creating a sustainable solutions. By talking to people I can transfer ideas and encourage people to take part. By writing small stories to twitter and NACs (Network for Active Citizens) I get to show even more what is happening in the K-zones.”

Giving the gift of nature through
Melissa grew up in Eastern Uganda, where her family was able to grow food in the garden. But the life in Kampala showed the contrast to the country side and she realized the gift of growing up and living close to trees and eatable plants.

“At the K-zone the trees are chopped down and the soil is to full with plastic to grow anything consistently. My dream is to be part of project where my community takes action and creates green spaces so my and coming generations can experience how living plants contributes to wellbeing.”

We are stories
This day Melissa was interviewing Kato Charles,23, who earns his money on walking water around the K-zone, but dreams of about trees and a environment with clean water. Afterwards she was meeting with Stanley, a social entrepreneur and leader of the local youth centre that have started a socioeconomic venture by growing mushrooms in bags and selling them at the market.

“It’s all about being a part of the community, listening to the stories that makes up the lives here. Every person holds a uniqe story and a dream, sometimes it just takes a bit of conversation to see reveal it.  My next story will be about the joy of walking instead of driving cars and bodas, (motorcycle taxis). Every aspect of life holds the opportunity to live.”

Dreams are green
The work for the community journalist lead by Network For Active Citizens Uganda, are a key element in the Dreamtown project GhettoGoGreen. The project are engaging youth in taking part in developing new ideas for more sustainable and loveable livingspaces. The group of group of community journalist are documenting and communicating their stories and  the transformations in the K-zones. The focus and training of community journalists are a part of the long term focus in Dreamtown where stories are both subject to spreading dreams and progress, but equaly the base for creating relationships and strong communities.


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