Carolina for Kibera, Inc.

Run by Kenyans and advised by American and Kenyan volunteers, CFK's mission is to promote youth leadership and ethnic cooperation in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya through sports, young women's empowerment, and community development. Additionally, CFK works to improve basic healthcare, sanitation, and education in Kibera.
Sep 30, 2014

Building Confidence through Photography

In CFK’s Daughters United program (Binti Pamoja in Swahili), girls are given opportunities to practice and develop artistic and professional skills that they wouldn’t have the chance to develop otherwise. These include dance, creative writing, leadership skills, and photography, among others. By practicing and improving these and other skills, girls build confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of community and safety with other girls who face similar challenges from living in Kibera.

Recently, Binti Pamoja held a photography workshop for those interested in learning how to take photos. Many of the girls in the program were very excited, since they don’t own cameras and never had the chance to take photos before.

25 girls between the ages of 12 and 15 participated in the general photography training, while 10 who showed a special interest in the subject got the chance to do a photo shoot at different locations throughout Kibera. Each group was given a different focus. For example, one pair of girls took photos of small businesses throughout Kibera, while other pairs took pictures of children and their surroundings. (You can see their photos below.)

The aim of the photo shoots was for the girls to discover, investigate, and write stories based on their photos. This writing assignment will be completed in November, during another Binti Pamoja workshop focusing on creative storytelling. We’re excited to share the completed stories with you then!

Inside a salon in Kibera
Inside a salon in Kibera
A vegetable seller
A vegetable seller's product for the day
Aug 20, 2014

Home Visits with Esther

Millicent, with Mary.
Millicent, with Mary.

Recently I had the opportunity to tag along on a couple of “home visits” with Esther, one of the nutritionists at Carolina for Kibera’s Lishe Bora Mtaani Nutrition Center. Our destination was Gatwekera, a village in Kibera located south of the CFK office.

CFK staff members and Community Health Workers (CHWs) conduct regular home visits for several health-related reasons.  CHWs go door-to-door to administer health surveys, acquiring basic health information from families all over Kibera.  They also screen children for malnutrition; if the child is malnourished, they send them to CFK’s Nutrition Center.  The purpose of our visits was a little different.  We were checking up on some of the children who had completed the Nutrition Center’s 8-week program and been successfully brought back to full health earlier this year.

Esther is a resident of Gatwekera and led me through the maze of houses and narrow, winding streets— it’s been raining recently in Kibera, and although the dirt alleyways have been turned to thick, slippery corridors of mud, Esther made her way quickly and nimbly in her flats while I struggled to keep my balance in a pair of oversized gum boots.

Our first stop was at the home of Millicent and her 2-year-old daughter Mary, who was released from the nutrition center in January. As we stepped inside their home, Mary instantly hid herself behind the curtain separating the family’s bed from the main living area— she was happy to see Esther (her second mom/auntie), but wasn’t too sure about me. We sat down with Millicent and Esther asked her about Mary’s progress and status since leaving the center. She’s maintained a healthy weight, has good energy, and is meeting important developmental milestones such as walking and talking. Her mom told us that Mary is also a great eater: her favorite foods are rice and beans, spaghetti, and cabbage. Millicent also recently referred a neighbor to the nutrition center.

The home visits with Mary and other former patients of the nutrition center are a critical element of its holistic approach to treating malnutrition. Parents are equipped with the knowledge and skills to keep their children strong and healthy, and follow-ups serve to identify any challenges and provide support and assistance where needed. It was exciting and encouraging to meet the plump, happy, and healthy babies and their equally happy parents—it takes a village to raise a child, and nowhere does that ring truer than here in Kibera.

Jul 8, 2014

The CFK Sprinters Travel to the US to Compete!

CFK’s jump rope team, The CFK Sprinters, will represent CFK and the country of Kenya in this year's World Jump Rope Competition, hosted by CFK partner organization One World One Rope, which will be hosted in Orlando, Florida, from June 30 to July 10, 2014.  The team had an intense recruitment process, through which the best of the best were selected.

After months of intense weekly training sessions, the selection of individual jumpers was based on performance, commitment, dedication to jump rope, and discipline within the team. It took quite some time for the coaches to select individuals to go on the trip, since all performed well.

After deciding who would go, the next step in the process was to secure their traveling documents and visas.  While it’s a hectic task, through a good relationship between Carolina for Kibera, One World One Rope, and the US embassy, the team was able to secure their visas after an arduous interview process. 

Two girls and two boys will be making the trip, along with one coach and a female teacher representative from one of the jumpers’ schools, as is required by the Kenya Ministry of Education.  Wish them luck—we’ll be rooting for them!

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