A Canadian expat that has been living abroad in Asia since 2003, Carrie moved from China to Taiwan in 2006 to teach English as a Second Language. Today, she and her husband are co-owners of Reach To Teach Recruiting . Carrie also works as a freelance travel writer and photographer, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on Google+ or on Twitter @globetrotteri.

52 responses to “Slums Around the World”

  1. Erica

    Thanks for sharing this, Carrie.

    Made me think of an article read some time ago. The author wrote that many of the people living in the favelas in Rio had never even been to the beach. Have you seen City of God by the way? A great movie that tells the story of two boys growing up in the slums of Rio in the 60's.

  2. WildJunket

    Brilliant piece! It's shattering to see so many people suffering in these slums. The slum areas near Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania are also in shockingly bad conditions. Your article is like a waking call. I hope more of us will do our part to stem this crisis.

  3. Tina Wichmann

    I think we all have a responsibility to help our fellow humans, and the people living in poverty need to share in this responsibility. In Africa, one of the biggest challenges that aid workers had was to educate people on birth control. The other issue, is that some of the charity's that are so eager to accept your money, oddly enough don't get to the people that need it most.

    I know many here in China, refuse to give money to the beggars due to the fact that are part of a mafia ring.

    Perhaps one day, things will change, and in the meantime I can only hope our small donations help in some way.

  4. cfimages

    Good article Carrie. I've seen the Dharavi slum in Mumbai from a bus window – it's a sobering sight indeed.

  5. air ticket sales

    Very interesting article. I have not many slums on my own eyes but a few years ago i visited Cape Town and a slum nearby this city was almost the same as those you are describing..

  6. Tobie Openshaw

    Hi Carrie you can search for photos or stories on names like Gugulethu, Crossroads Squatter Camp, and Nyanga. I did a quick search, I am rather busy this morning, but you will find some stories and images. I spent some time in Crossroads in the 80's, I might go and take some photos there when I go to SA for a visit in August.

  7. saif

    Its shocking to see the inhumane condition in world’s third largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Hope humanity will prevail there soon.

  8. Jenn

    Thank you for your post. I’ve also seen various slums around the world, and it is truly sad to see. Yet, I’m always fascinated by how content the people living there seem. I suppose their lack of materialism and strong sense of family help to keep them grounded.
    I am going to check out the Unhabitat website, and see what I can contribute to their cause.

    Thanks much!

  9. Guilherme Fragomeni

    Hello Carrie!

    I´m a Brazilian lawyer and I´m working with environmental and urban law in the city of Curitiba-PR (south of Brazil). Liked your work, just out of curiosity, we call our slums FAVELAS because they started to get general attention in the city of Rio de Janeiro, spreading over hills too inclined for “legal” constructions. In these hills there was a typical plant called “favela”, that´s the reason for the name.

    I saw another post saying that many people from RIo´s favelas have never seen the ocean. That sounds a bit absurd considering most of Rio´s favelas have a gorgeous view to the ocean and are (at the most) a hour and half walk from the beach. But the movie “city of god” is a really good insight on Rio´s favelas, and so is “Tropa de Elite”.

    Take care!

  10. Loyal Moon

    Nice article. This in human way of life in terms of living in poverty, is the subject in which most would sadly ignore, however a very very bad nightmare for those who could never imagine this suffering in overdrive. My name is Loyal Moon I am from and reside in the U.S.A. I have always been struck down by the knowing of terror happening to people all over the world. I will never experience the biological family for I have never known them, sorry to say. I believe someday I will rise and let the world know me for my staggering talents in, Leadership, Music, Astronomy, Writing Books, True Charities and so so much more. Carrie you will be rewarded. You have the eyes that can see what is happening. I look forward in meeting you someday mabe we can help each other revive the the World.

  11. alex

    Excellent read, I grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and had the experience of being invited to a young man’s shack in Kibera, it is something that I will never forget. Growing up in Kenya and being half Mexican I have seen a number of slums across the world but Kibera is shocking. As you said the houses are literally built on rubbish and often from rubbish. Someone replied on your article about how these people seem to be content living in slums, but in my opinion this is not content, it is not having had the privilege to experience something better. As the saying goes “you don’t miss what you never had”. But speaking to people from Kibera and other similar slums in Kenya you can tell that they have no opportunity to improve their economic situation as governments and NGO’s see these slums as a way of providing them a very comfortable living.
    I always asked my dad why he drives a shitty car in Kenya and his response was “I am here to help the Kenyans improve their standard of living and donors pay for us to be here, I would be a hypocrite if I drove around in a flashy Mercedes asking people for money to help Africa.”
    This opened my eyes in seeing how many rich people there are in east Africa who say they are there to help but in reality they are just helping themselves.

  12. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by globetrotteri: Slums around the world. http://www.myseveralworlds.com/2009/04/05/slums-around-the-world/

  13. sylvester bassey enefiok

    i realy like the way you live your life,just keep it up

  14. Ju

    Where are the other slums? You put only in countries that are considered poor. And where are the slums of the developed countries? I know that there are. Or do you think there is only poverty in these countries that you showed? It’s the world’s hypocrisy.

    1. Sarah

      Dear Ju,
      She was mentioning that she shows some of the BIGGEST slums around, in richer countries the slums dont get that big. I know in Hong Kong there are some too, this is nothing compared to what I saw in Africa or in India. And yes…there are some “ghetto’s” and trailerparks in USA and other “rich” countries with people havin a hard time getting by. I have lived in a squad before…but it aint a slum…it doesnt mean Im rich either, but Im very thankful that I dont have to go throug the garbage for food and built my own shelter.

  15. Kennedy Odede

    My name is Kennedy Odede, am 25 years old and currently studying in the United States. I was born in Kibera slums and spent my entire 23 years in one of the largest slum in Africa. I saw the picture and reminded me of my home and my life. Kibera is a slum but has taught me a lot in life. Kibera has been my teacher since I was born. I know what it means to live under $ 1 per day, a day can pass without food, I had to walk for 45 minutes to fetch the water. Life is difficulty in the slums. Why do we have slums? We have slums because some people have too much than what they need. There is no equal distribution of the resources. Otherwise we can defeat poverty but some people must suffer in the expense of others to be the “big wigs”. The vision 2030 are words unless the “big wigs” are ready to abandon selfish desires.

  16. SillySarah

    Wow, i just stumbled upon this site by looking for a place to donate clothes in Rio de Janeiro, which is my next trip. I have travelled a lot and saw many poor people. Never I give money, just food and water, clothes, pens, balloons, a kind smile and conversations and positivity. Although poor, some seem to be happy than the rich anyway, cause they have dreams, dreams of food and just a roof over their heads. Humbled by the Nepali with their usual diet of just plain rice whilst living in those mountains, houses made of cow dung, I slept in those and its sooo different.

    in Rio there are many favela’s, I saw that Guilherme didnt answer back, but I saw this site just a few hours ago. Its http://www.bealocal.com
    They give tours through the favela’ Rocinha. They take you out by motorbike and walk into the favela. My trip will be on 30st of March, I think my friend Carla, who lives there, will get a heart attack if I tell her that I wanna go visit. Im not afraid that much, just carefull sometimes. Most people are good, born good and got corrupted on the way sometimes just by circumstances. If I was a millionaire I would know what to do with the money. There is soooo much, if only every paycheck person would give up their wages for one month, you know how much good you could do? I have dreams…big ones…and I will not give up dreaming. :D

  17. sumith

    so, sad about them

  18. Khalid Nadeem

    I think, we can remove these slum from the map of world, if every rich of the world donate the some percentage of his income, every year.

    1. JOSHWA

      I have been living in Kibera slums in Nairobi Kenya , one of the third largest slums in the world and i have believed that something can be done to make it much better and already i have formed my organisation . KIBERA COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT ORGANISATION (KCEO)to empower people to develops the slum situation

      1. James Reeves

        We share interests, to empower people to develop the slum situation. Please contact me to share ideas.
        Jim Reeves
        San Antonio, Texas

  19. SAI FRED

    what you see on pictures does not bring a real reflection of life in a slum.pay a visit and be part of the slum community then you will know life is not easy in such places.i have lived in one! i know how it feels.

  20. Dina Al Khalili

    Hi Carrie,
    BBCW ran a piece about Journalists around the world and the life threatning situations they are often put in in 3rd world countries. Part of it was about this British journalised who made an award winning short film about slum children in India – following that on the news was Rio’s slum raids for drug traffickers… This was 10 minutes ago, I googled world’s largest slums and I got your link :)

    I live in Oman, a 3rd but developing world country where the government grants people lands and housing. So a slum here is no where to be found. We do however have poor people, but after reading your article , it seems that our poor people could do something about it (maybe not much but they got it good compared to the people in the slums)

    I get very tired of reading about how “we” should do something about it, without mentioning how. As some of the readers mentioned above, giving or donating money might not be always the best solution, for lack of knowledge of where that money actually goes.
    Donating material always works for me, the basic food items and sanitary products, school material and clothes, used books…etc.

    Because Oman’s population consists of people who are originally African (Zanzibari – Tanzanian) those often carry on food or clothes drives for Tanzania. A friend of mine helped open a school in Zanzibar and people donated everything they can think of relevant to school and education.

    Alot of people refuse to make donations or any kind of contriubtion to other countries, with the excuse that “since we have poor people here, why should I help outisde the country” – and I too used to think that was logical – until I read this. Now, I don’t mind, or should I say, I will send the suitcase of clothes and items to Tanzania because alot there simply don’t have anything.

    Thank you. Please excuse typos, i’m using my phone.
    P.S. I LOVE the idea of hotel toilettries and will start doing that! :)

  21. Ajay Ranga

    Very good research work. I am also working on crime in slums. If you can help in my research on crime in slums . I shall be very thankful.

  22. Hasan Raza Awan

    nice work..i am also working on a project which is on the life of people in urban slums….

  23. Philip Wyatt

    The situation of slums is only ever going to get worst and it’s all down to over-population. What will happen in 50 years time when the world population doubles and resourses run out.

    Anyone who thinks you can eradicate poverty is living in a dream world. Civil wars, mass starvation will happen without a doubt. All the crap in the middle east kicked off because of lack of food in certain countries, but know one reports that!

    There is no answer unless you bring in a world law of one baby per family for the next 50 years. Radical I know, but the only way. It won’t happen so the only other way is mass misery. I would hate to be born now!!!

  24. Ellermann

    More green zones, more controlling of metals in use for chemical and production plants, minor population and anti slum law (persons to settled proscribed per m²).



  25. sentongo george

    Thanks so much for providing this web, Am a ugandan and live in uganda, Rakai district, Kalisizo town. I’ve a diploma in Architecture, Right now am trying to arrange our town by educating people how to live in an organized environment but the task is to big, bi course of the poverty. there for if there someone out there who can help and we start up a project for building for poor people at less costs but organized houses may contact me though that address or call +256702365020. pliz lets do it before it worse. thanks

  26. amee

    thanks so much. i am a food blogger and just came across this site while searching for “my seven links”…I am glad you gave us an extra chance to read this post. thanks for sharing this one.

  27. guruben

    hi friends, i am an architect cum planner from India,i did my bachelor in INDIA and then i did my masters in urban and regional planning in FRANCE. i found this link while i searching the data regarding my research on Urban slums in developing and developed countries,

    As far as slums concern there is no proper,housing,basic facilities and income. but you can see the slums formed because of the above three factors, Rural population migrating from rural to urban for the better life, but again they failed to get all the above three factors.due to income vs current market rate of land value in cities.

    Perhaps there are lot of funds have been spent for the slum rehabilitation, development , regeneration, by the Government sector in all across the world. but there is no significant changes in the slum population in the cities.
    my suggestion on the slum issues in urban areas:
    make the awareness programme by advertisement, taking international movies. include the slum subject in the academic syllabus.
    Government must work along with the private sector and NGO to redress the slum issues.
    use the available resources effective and do not create the waste out of available resources.
    thanks …we hope one day we will live with no issues…

  28. guruben

    development of a settlements must be focus on two factors, clean water and pure air , this two address all the other factors…

  29. Dabiha

    I have spent considerable time in Nairobi and send time in Kibera. It is a slum and the people are organized resilient and solving their problems one day at a time. Like in USA the more privileged in Nairobi have never been in Kibera. I do a lot of work in SE Seattle zip code 98118 is among the most diverse in every socio economic and religious category. We seldom have Seattle residents living in northern communities come to Rainier Valey. Yet they collect money create gimmicky solutions and create an economy for themselves based on the misery of others. This is the how so many see Kibera it is so difficult for others to see any good the comes fron self efficacy. I have all my clothing made by a young woman that a small investment in the SACODEN NGO income generation project allowed her to create her own business. she is now returned to school, pays her children school fees and employs others. If you just take a photo of her 10 x 10 shop you might miss the dynamic of who she is. I get all of my photos downloaded at the tiny copy shop in the Makena Market. Yes, I see children on trash heaps but each year I see more and more children in school because of mothers launching their micro businesses. When we on USA, London, Rio, and all areas aligned with the world’s poorest can walk into these areas and see from an internal rather external filter we could solve these problems quicker.

Leave a Reply