The biggest city and metropolis in the Middle East and Africa -with a population of 16-20 millions- is Cairo, a city that has the culture, the history, the night life the year round warm climate, the strategic location, and the educational facilities that have supplied Egyptians and all neighbouring Arabs and Africans with higher level learning for decades. As all these touristic and emblematic cities, they have a behind- the scenes side; A study by the UN revealed that 25-35 % of Cairo’s population live in slums within and around it.
By 1960’s, slums in Cairo started to rise with little to no formal attention or control over its crawl. Nowadays, the city’s slum has grown to accommodate 3-5 million inhabitants of Greater Cairo. The spread of these run-down areas have taken a very alarming sequence, where every moderate and high class district of the city is surrounded or neighboured by a slum in which the slum residents make their living through parasitic services and activities in the more prosperous areas (such as wiping cars and selling Chinese goods (or bads) at stop lights, helping you park on the streets by acting as your personal navigation system, or simply begging for any change you can spare).
More on the serious side, people living in slums (or the Shade – as they refer to themselves) suffer extreme poverty, illiteracy, demeaning healthcare, no infrastructure and social services, yet costing the country -that once turned its back on them- a fortune, with no benefit out of their production or taxes. All is causing the country a great loss to its human resources: no education, no proper job (if at all), no production, no development, rise in crime rates, possible spread of diseases through unhealthy living conditions.
Yet, Slums are time bombs that cannot be denied. ONE uneducated uncivilized unhealthy unemployed ignorant man produces 4-6 children raised under the same behaviour and inhumane conditions. If we multiply this case by millions… we can foresee the consequences.
Robin Wyatt‘ s work, which shows us his 2 months experience in Cairo, tells us through powerful and evocative images the reality of Egypt. His photographies serve as tools in building bridges, fostering greater understanding and ultimately making our beautiful world a better place to live in.