Children of Heaven

Posted: September 3rd, 2013





Children of Heaven


The life on the slums for a family is extremely difficult. Therefore, families living in these areas have to device mechanisms in which they can use to survive. This is clearly shown in the movie ‘Children of Heaven.’ The movie is about a family living in the slums. Mostly it is about a boy who loses his sister’s shoes. However, due to poverty, the boy cannot tell his parents. Hence, he tries to look for ways to replace his sister’s shoes. In this paper, the issue of slum environment and family survival using the movie ‘Children of Heaven’ is discussed.


The slum environment is one that involves abject poverty. People living in the slums live by the day hoping for a better tomorrow. For instance, in the movie, when the boy, Ali, loses his sister’s shoes, he is afraid of telling his parents of the predicament that has befallen him. This is because he fears being punished. Additionally, he knows that his sister is not likely to get new shoes due to poverty (Majidi 1999). When this situation is compared to a rich family, losing one pair of shoes is not an issue. Parents from rich families can afford to buy another pair of shoes. Moreover, most children living in rich families have more than one pair of shoes.

Secondly, the slum environment contains a lot of pollution. The areas surrounding the slums are unhygienic. Garbage is all over the streets, and the sewer systems are poorly done. It is by God’s grace that these people survive without being affected by disease or other serious problems. For example, in the movie, this distinction can be clearly seen when Ali is in the market. This is where Ali loses his sister shoes as the garbage is being collected. In this case, it can be noted that the environment is polluted, and the sewer systems are poorly managed. This can be compared when Ali and his father have gone to the suburbs to look for work (Majidi 1999). These places have a sound environment and their sewer systems are well maintained. Therefore, this shows that the slum environment is characterized by a lot of pollution and poorly maintained sewer systems.

Lastly, the slum environment is densely populated. In most cases, many poor people live in the slums. Worldwide, in almost every country, the population of poor people is more than the population of the rich people. The people often live in slums. In these places, they are crowded in one location (Mutume 2004). For instance, in the movie, it can be clearly seen how the Ali’s and the people living in the neighborhood are crowded in one place (Majidi 1999). Still in the same movie when Ali and his father go to the suburb to look for work, it can be noted that the rich people are not crowded at one place. This shows that the slum environment is densely populated as compared to the suburb where the rich people reside.

Therefore, because of the slum environment, the families living there have to device ways in which they can survive in abject poverty. The first form of survival is that the families live in debt. This is where they take basic goods on loan. Things like foodstuffs and rent for the house are usually paid when money becomes available. For instance, in the movie Ali’s family have survived on loans. They have accumulated a huge debt at the grocery shops that will be paid later. This is done because it is not every day that poor people have money. Moreover, they need to food to eat. Hence, they have no other option apart from taking foodstuff on loan.

The other mode of survival is searching for casuals jobs in the suburbs. The people need money to survive. They need money to pay for their basic needs. In order to do this, they need to perform casual job at the residence where the rich people stay. For instance, in the movie Ali’s father seriously needs money. The only way he can get money is by working in the suburbs (Majidi 1999). Therefore, he and his son go to the suburbs where they can be offered work, to enable them survive.

Lastly, people living in slums need to stay in better houses. This is where they have to look for all possible means so that they have better houses. In most slums, they have developed ways where they have formed small groups. In these groups, they contribute a small amount of money to a certain point where they build better houses with better housing facilities (Mutume 2004). Poor families living in urban areas do anything to have a roof on their heads. In this case, the parents have to settle in the slums with their children forming making these their housing facilities. Therefore, the formation of small groups by the slum dwellers for better housing facilities is another means for survival for the families (Mutume 2004).


The environment of the slums is extremely harsh for the families who live in these areas. The slum environment is characterized by poverty. This is because many people who live in the slums are poor people. Secondly, it is characterized by a lot of pollution and poor maintenance of the sewer system. Lastly, the slums are crowded with poor people as compared to the suburbs. This means that they are densely populated with poor people. Hence, due to these conditions in the slums, the families have developed strategies of survival. The first is the exploitation of the debts. Secondly, they have formed groups for the purposes of creating better houses. Lastly, the search of casual jobs is the most common means of survival.


Works Cited

Mutume, Gumisai. Rough Road to Sustainable Development. African Renewal. 18, 2. (2004), p 19. Print.

Majidi, Majid, dir. Children of Heaven. Miramax Films, 1999. Film.

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