world habitat day
Hamida Nantume, 35, is a beneficiary of a low cost housing project. Previously, she lived with her elder brother in Kisenyi slum in the city. This is where she met the father her five children.
"Life was terrible. We rented a one-room house at sh70,000. We were surrounded by drug dealers, thieves and all sorts of wrong-doers. I feared for my curious children that they would start taking drugs, and using the dirty language around. Also, the place was surrounded by dirty drainage channels, filled with sewage. The houses had no toilets or bathrooms," she says.
The family used communal toilets and bathrooms. "I used to fry cassava, sell water, wash clothes and do other casual jobs for a living. A woman from Shelter and Settlements Alternatives (SSA) approached the chairperson of our savings group, and told us about saving for our own houses. It seemed unbelievable that we, too, could own houses," she says.
"We were asked to pay sh1m so that they could get us houses, after which we would pay 70,000 per month for 30 years. We have been here for almost a year. I am so happy now that my children can even play outside because back in Kisenyi, I always kept them indoors," she says.
For Sara Nakibuuka, 54, Kisenyi was the only home she knew. "I lived there with my parents, until they passed away. I then met the father of my children and continued to live in Kisenyi.
"The place was so insecure that thieves would share there loot right next to the entrance of our one-room house. It was dirty and whenever it rained, the place would flood and the stench of sewage was unbearable," she says.
The family had to pay to use the communal bathrooms or toilets. "Because I had children, it was costly for me to foot the bills, so I got a bucket for the children to ease themselves in. I would dispose of the waste at once. One time, the land on which our structure stood was sold off. We were not warned, but only woke up to the sound of graders bringing down the structures at 3:00am," she says.
They had to rush the children out and also grab as much property as they could from the house. "Because there were many thieves around, we lost a lot of property. Therefore, when we were told about saving for houses, I was excited. I was determined to get out of that bad environment. I first saved sh400,000 and borrowed sh600,000 from a relative to pay for the house. I am glad my children have their own bedroom now," she says. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY