Shining Hope for Communities

Shining Hope for Communities combats inter-generational cycles of poverty and gender inequality by linking tuition-free schools for girls to essential social services for all in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. By concretely linking essential health and economic services to a school for girls, we demonstrate that benefiting women benefits the whole community, cultivating a community ethos that makes women respected members of society.
Jun 1, 2012

June 2012: SHOFCO Clean Water Project

The SHOFCO Water Tower!
The SHOFCO Water Tower!

Wishing you a wonderful start to a beautiful summer weekend! Thank you for your continued support of SHOFCO, and for helping us make an incredible difference in the lives of so many.

We're thrilled to share with you the news that Kennedy Odede, SHOFCO's co-founder and CEO, graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, last weekend! Kennedy is the Kibera slum's first graduate of a prestigious American University.

Kennedy delivered Wesleyan’s senior commencement address with a riveting seven minute speech, where he shared his dream "to attend a Wesleyan commencement 13 years from now, and sit where our families are today, to watch a graduate of the Kibera School for Girls accept a Wesleyan diploma, proving yet again that it does not matter where you come from—only where you want to go." His speech ended with his fellow graduates repeating after him to “Promise to champion hope throughout the world.”

Kennedy and co-founder Jessica Posner will marry later this month in Jessica's hometown of Denver, CO. They will then return to Kibera for the rest of the summer. To read more about their story and the founding of SHOFCO, take a look at VOGUE magazine's recent feature on SHOFCO.

SHOFCO's programs in Kibera are bustling and busy as ever! The Clean Water Project is currently serving 378 families, and has distributed over 1,167,000 liters of safe drinking water over the past 4.5 months. Construction plans are moving forward to build a second story onto the bio-latrine center, as well as a septic tank. The second story and septic tank will provide a much-needed addition to our sanitation services.

Thank you so much for your continued support of SHOFCO's Clean Water Project. SHOFCO's lasting impact would not be possible without your involvement in our movement for change. Thank you for championing change for the Kibera community!

Kennedy Odede at the Kibera School for Girls
Kennedy Odede at the Kibera School for Girls
Safe drinking water for Kibera
Safe drinking water for Kibera
Busy days at SHOFCO
Busy days at SHOFCO's Clean Water Project


May 10, 2012

The perfect gift for Mother's Day, VOGUE magazine features SHOFCO, and a debute of new films!

Celebrating Mother
Celebrating Mother's Day! credit: Bella Zanesco

To our loyal supporters--

We're excited to share with you the recent news & updates from Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)!


Mother's Day Matching Challenge-- honor your loved ones with a gift that has a lasting impact

"It's time to move the apostrophe so that it becomes not just Mother's Day honoring a single mother, but Mother's Day-- an occasion to try and help mothers around the globe."
     - Nicholas Kristof


Last year, your support on Mother's Day helped us build a new school: doubling the number of students we educate in Kibera, Africa's largest slum. This year, we need your help to secure a $50,000 Mother's Day Matching Grant from the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust to provide essential funding for maternal and child healthcare! All donations in honor of loved ones for Mother's Day will help us secure the matching funds.

It's a powerful and meaningful way to celebrate Mother's Day-- and will have a lasting impact on the lives of women and children in Kibera.

The perfect gift! Donate & send a tribute card to your mother, spouse, sister, or friend today!

VOGUE magazine features Jessica Posner and SHOFCO! 

The May 2012 edition of VOGUE magazine features SHOFCO Co-founder Jessica Posner. Read the feature! Our New Media Platform

Watch the inspiring stories about SHOFCO in Kibera. The films feature three extraordinary individuals: a student's father who is unwavering in his belief that girls' education will lead to a better life; the head coach of the SHOFCO soccer program who is inspiring youth to follow their dreams; and the social worker who leads the 'Shining Girls of Kibera' group that provides a space for adolescent girls to study, support each other, dance, create art, and to just be teenagers.


Thank you for making a difference! Your support is building a brighter future for Kibera. 


With appreciation,

- all of us at Shining Hope for Communities

Vogue magazine features Jessica Posner & SHOFCO!
Vogue magazine features Jessica Posner & SHOFCO!
Mother's Day gifts will be matched!


Mar 20, 2012

Shining Hope: Stories from Kibera, March 2012

Teachers Sharon & Violet with the 2nd grade class
Teachers Sharon & Violet with the 2nd grade class

This report features Sharon Mbaki, one of the fabulous teachers at Shining Hope's Kibera School for Girls. 

Sharon Mbaki, born and raised in Nairobi, is a new Head Teacher at the Kibera School for Girls. She joined KSG in June 2011 at the Assistant Teacher for 2nd grade, and was promoted to Head Teacher at the beginning of the school year this January. She is trained in primary education and guidance counseling and is now the 2nd grade Head Teacher.

“When you love it, teaching is easy,” she says. Though earlier in life she dreamed of a career as a tour guide, she fell in love with education in her college years. She says she has “come to love and treasure it.” As the oldest in her family, working with students comes naturally. She “treats [the girls] like my sisters, my friends.” Our headmistress Anne describes Sharon as “bold, courageous, and innovative. She likes to face new challenges.”

Joining the team at KSG was a transition for Sharon. Having grown up on the strict Kenyan system, she says she much prefers the KSG “child centered” student. Throughout her own education, she became accustomed to rote memorization and lecturing, what she described as a “teacher centered” model. Here, the students learn to model concepts and the teachers are allowed extensive time for each lessons. “Kids love the lessons and that encourages you to teach.” Other schools “are all about books and the students fear the teachers,” she described. Our girls are “open, they’re ready to learn. Other girls don’t know how to express themselves.”

Sharon has been continually impressed with the girls at KSG. The girls “have a lot of problems back at home. Sometimes they bring it back to school. I tell them, if you didn’t eat, I didn’t eat too. Put your differences out and we can learn.” Sharon’s training in guidance counseling allows her to support our students who have experienced emotional trauma. Her impact is palpable – her confident and excited second graders learn with a big smile on their faces. They feel comfortable presenting in front of the class and they always have their hand in the air to answer questions.

When asked about the girls’ future, she hopes they continue to develop their self-expression and find that which excites them in life. She says, “the sky is not the limit, because past the sky are the stars. There is always room for an improvement. A journey starts with a step.”


Thank you for your continued support of Shining Hope for Communities!

Sharon works with Susan, Tracy, and Martha
Sharon works with Susan, Tracy, and Martha


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