Flowers growing in slums? It’s almost absurd!
For those living in slums, flowers are considered luxuries. In fact, flowers are the last thing on people’s minds. Survival is the only thing that matters.
Slums are characterized by poor, sometimes inhabitable housing with barely any access to clean drinking water and other basic necessities. Slum dwellers live a life of poverty and desperation and the situation doesn’t seem to be getting better. According to a UN-HABITAT report, the number of slum dwellers is expected to double by the year 2030. Currently, one billion people live in slums. Much of the population in Africa, parts of the Middle East, Latin America and Asia live in slums due to a lack of employment and income, along with other socio-economic issues.
But as dire the situation might be, there is a glimmer of hope. Slum dwellers can have a chance at a better life. And flowers play a major role!
In Cameroon, a country in Africa, the young and unemployed are turning to flowers to get out of poverty. They are growing flowers and ornamental trees in slums in cities across the country. And they seem to be successful; the youths are making a profit, especially during the high seasons and festivals. The flowers are grown on roadsides, lanes and around tourism sites to attract potential customers. Watering the plants is made possible through the access of the public water system.
The Cameroon youths have proven that cultivating flowers can be a sustainable and viable solution to the slum problem. Along with beautifying our world, flowers and trees fertilize the soil, combat climate change and increase the dwindling bee population. Bee pollination is crucial to our food and agricultural production.
To learn more about the story on the Cameroon youth, go to the Inter Press Service.