Okahandja Dump Kids

Scavenging to find a handful of crumbs to fill their bellies or a little drop of a leftover beverage in a bottle to quench their thirst, the children of the Okahandja dump site try to survive the only way they know how... by foraging daily for anything they can sell or eat. The dump is home to over 40 underprivileged or homeless children ranging in the age of 2-17 years old, and is located about 60 miles north of Windhoek, Namibia. They call the dump home after having been chased away from the town’s streets for begging. This place is safe for them. It is a place to play and put their heads down to sleep at night. There are few children here with parents. If they have parents the parents are not educated. It makes it difficult for them to find jobs to support or care for themselves or their kids. Some of these parents also call the dump home. As the daily trucks come into dump their trash, the kids run and rip through bags searching for food, bottles to recycle or anything of value to make their life a little easier for the moment.

A young boy picks through garbage for food that was recently dropped off at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia.


A teenage boy plays with his self built wire truck amongst the burning trash on August 18, 2015 at the Okahandja dump, Namibia. The dump also serves as a dangerous playground to the kids that live within its borders because they have nowhere to go.


Dobolino, 15, Mieze, 7, and Janine, 17, pick through garbage for food that was recently dropped off at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia.


Mieze, 7, rolls around in happiness as she eats a piece of bread she found while rummaging though the trash at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia.


Janine, 17, shares some found food with Rolien, 8, at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia. There is a pecking order at the dump amongst the kids, but Janine is one of the older children at the dump and tries to watch after some of the younger ones.


Rolien, 8, tries to steal some food from a boy in his shelter at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia. For the most part food is shared amongst everyone. However Rolien found this young boy hiding and eating his food without sharing with the group.


Dobolino, 15, shares some water with Mieze, 7 at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia. The children will pick through the garbage looking for any liquid in a drinking type container and finish off whatever last drops are in the container.


A teenage boy has a dispute with Janine, 17 and stops on her head at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia.


Clareta, 7 not only finds some food today but also scores when she finds a yo-yo to play with at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia.


As the sun starts to set, all the dump kids run off to their make-shift shelters to prepare for the night at the Okahandja dump on August 18, 2015 in Okahandja, Namibia. When morning comes the children will be back in their vicious circle of finding food and water to survive.