Theresidents of the Park Road Affordable Housing Community are roused from sleep by the singing of chirping birds in the early morning. In the soft morning light, several new orange and grey high-rise residential buildings stand tall and distinct from a distance.
After breakfast with his family, Kamau drives his child to school to start the beautiful day. “Having a comfortable house is the dream of many Kenyans. Now my dream has come true. Everything is getting better,”he says. A new house and surroundings start a fresh life. With the realization of the “Affordable Housing Dream”, Kamau has an unlimited vision for future.
“There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and an open kitchen. The well-ventilated house is more than enough to accommodate me and my families,”says Kamau. He is so satisfied. In addition, there’s a good drainage system and adequate parking spaces, and the infrastructure, such as a basketball court, kindergarten, and children entertainment facilities, are readily available. These improvements provide Kamau’s family with a great sense of well-being. “It is very close to the CBD.Living here is very convenient and comfortable,”says Kamau.
Kenya’s urban population, which makes up 22% of the country’s total, is growing at about 4.2% per year. This is increasing the demand for housing. According to a national housing survey released by the government, nationwide, there is a shortage of more than 200,000 units per year. In order to address the huge housing demand of the medium and low-income population, the Park Road Affordable Housing Project was created.
China State Construction is the contractor. The Park Road Affordable Housing Projectis the first affordable housing project to which the Kenyan government committed to improve people’s livelihoods. It covers an area of 32,000 square meters, with a built-up area of 123,000 square meters, including 1,370 apartments and supporting facilities. The project was started in early 2019. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was completed 105 days ahead of schedule and delivered 75 days ahead of the agreed time.
It is not just the speed of construction and quality of the housing that Kamau is happy about. China State Construction has employed more than a thousand local Kenyan workers，and Kamau is one of them. “During my time here, China State Construction has tripled my salary, so I’m now able to meet the basic needs of myself and those of my family.” Before this job, Kamau earned a thousand Kenyanshillings a day, around 8 US dollars.
The project is part of the “Big Four Agenda”of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has visited the project twice and voiced satisfaction with construction speed and quality. Kenyatta said that it would set an example in the whole country and thus have a positive impact on the lives of many Kenyans.
“I have heard from my Chinese colleagues that Chinese people have a special feeling for houses. Owning a house is the basic guarantee for a happy life.” Now that Kamau has moved into his new house, he understands his Chinese colleagues better. In his view, his Chinese colleagues have also poured their feelings into constructing the Park Road Affordable Housing Project. Owning a house is a dream come true for Kamau. Now he is optimistic about future and looking forward to the opportunity to work on such projects again.