SHOFCO Mother's Day Matching Challenge

by Shining Hope for Communities

Thank you so much for your participation in the 2013 Mother's Day Matching Challenge!  

Your contributions allowed us to double the impact, maximaizing the positive change we are creating Kibera. We could not achieve so much without your enthusiasm and support! 

Many women in the SHOFCO Women's Empowerment Project (SWEP) are mothers of students at The Kibera School for Girls (KSG) and have been involved with SHOFCO since KSG's inception.  Recently, our SWEP members created beautiful uniforms for our pre-kindergarteners, a project in the works since the start of the new school year. 

The SWEP team enthusiastically took ownership of this exciting long-term project. Crafting the signature, vibrant blue dresses and red sweaters served to deepen their relationship with KSG while providing a significant source of supplementary income to support their families. To say the girls were excited to receive their new uniforms would be a gross understatement! Check out the blog entry here.

Today, along with all the mothers we collectively honored through this campaign, we celebrate your generosity and dedication to making so much possible.  Thank you for being a part of our movement!


Our Pre-Ks celebrate their new uniforms!
Our Pre-Ks celebrate their new uniforms!
SWEP members work their magic!
SWEP members work their magic!


Kibera School for Girls celebrates Valentine
Kibera School for Girls celebrates Valentine's Day

Last month, we enrolled 40 new pre-Kindergarten students at the Kibera School for Girls (KSG), and the joy is palpable. The new students are thriving with the care of KSG's amazing teaching staff, daily nutritious meals, and world-class curriculum. 

We're proud to share this recent feature in Nairobi's Daily Nation, Kenya's leading newspaper, about Kennedy Odede and the momentum of our work-- read it here!

Today, we are celebrating your support, generosity, and dedication to making so much possible. Thank you for being a part of our movement! We're proud to share with you a few examples of our 3rd grade students’ writing about pollution, below. This is from our cross-curricular emphasis on “science writing.” 

Studying Environmental Pollution in Kibera 

The Dust That Spoils Our Rivers and Food We Eat

by Velma, 3rd grade student

Dear People,

I want to say that the factories must not throw things in our rivers. Because if we want to drink water, where will we get the water?

We must take care of ourselves and be careful. Please ensure nobody drinks the water in the drains, because we will get diseases and we will get malaria.  We must be careful with what we are eating. If we eat without washing our hands we will have germs in our bodies. We must be sure with what we are eating because the white cells in our bodies will get tired and stop working in our bodies. If we get water from the rivers we must boil it first or filtering it and putting water guard.

We must ensure we wash our hands before eating and after eating. Being clean is the best and you will always go far if you are always clean. We must be always be clean because if you are not clean who will love you and who will even eat in your house or come to your house?

If we don’t take care of our country, who will take care? Don’t sit waiting. Stand up and start making our world beautiful. And make the rivers beautiful and the roads and keep everything full of cleanliness. Don’t just sit and wait to be told. I know all of us together can make our world beautiful.

Thank you.


Let’s Protect the Soil in Kibera

by Lorna, Grade 3

Here in Kibera, people are polluting the soil. Other people are putting rubbish in soil so that we can’t grow our crops. We must take care of our houses also and keep them clean. We are now big people we should maintain good hygiene. If we pollute the soil, the plans wouldn’t grow well. We must not put bad things in soil because it can bring diseases. We must not put rubbish, diapers, and other torn clothes that are not useful. We must care for the plants as they are also caring for us. The seeds are being planted in soil so that we can get more plants. To make your garden beautiful we must need soil so that we can get flowers and the petals will make your garden colorful. That’s how we cannot pollute the soil. I am begging the people of Kibera to not do what is wrong. Do what is right as I have said. And I hope you have listened.

Wishing you a Happy Valetine
Wishing you a Happy Valetine's Day!
Fun on the KSG rooftop playground!
Fun on the KSG rooftop playground!


Bring the Girl Effect to Kibera!
Bring the Girl Effect to Kibera!

Thank you for your generous support and involvement in our movement!  

Right now, we need you to help Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) win the Girl Effect Challenge by Nov. 30th! Donate $10 and you'll bring us one vote closer to winning the Challenge-- and an additional $25k for SHOFCO's work changing the lives of girls and their families in Kibera! 

Donate $10 today to help SHOFCO win $25k in support of girls in Kibera! 

Please consider telling your friends and family about this opportunity to make a difference - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. You know your friends and family best- share with them why you chose to support SHOFCO and what it means to you.

Thank you for being a part of change! We're proud to share with you this story from Kibera, where your investment in women and girls is having an exponential impact on the entire community: 

 “With Knowledge We Are Powerful”

by Akinyi, SHOFCO Youth Empowerment Program

I was born in Kibera and have experienced so much living here.  Since I was a child I remember looking at my parents and thinking that I wanted to do something good to help my family get out of this place.  I always wanted to help those around me. Sometimes when I hear what others have gone through here, I no longer think I have a sad story to tell. 

When I finished going as far as my family could afford in school, I joined SHOFCO’s youth group.  I love the theatre department and being a reporter for the Kibera Mirror. Through theatre, we get to know each other’s ideas and opinions—it keeps us focused and away from things that can ruin our lives.  I am learning leadership.  With my new skills, I try to empower other youths to get involved so they can gain as I have.  

At SHOFCO, I have become a Youth Peer Educator.  Now I talk to other youth about family planning, protecting ourselves, safe sex, respect, and how to navigate challenges.  Other youth consult with me, and people even seek me out at home. It is amazing because I can see that people respect me.  My dream is to educate young people across all of the slums in Nairobi to empower girls and prevent early pregnancy and HIV. 

The biggest challenge the youth face in the slums is ignorance—without information your life is not your own.  I write for the Kibera Mirror to empower the community with information about things that impact them.  Last month I wrote about untrained midwives and the consequences of giving birth at home. I write because I know I can save lives.  Many women have told me they come to our clinic because they read my articles.  I do my work with all the passion that I have.  Now I can provide for myself, without my parents’ help because of my job with SHOFCO.  I know many girls like to ignore things, and don’t have information that can keep them safe.  When you give them information, they also give others—and then we can stand together to make a better future.  

The Kibera School for Girls
The Kibera School for Girls
Give a girl hope and transform the community!
Give a girl hope and transform the community!


Kennedy Graduates from Wesleyan University
Kennedy Graduates from Wesleyan University

Wishing you a wonderful start to the summer!

Last month, Shining Hope for Communities co-founder and CEO, Kennedy Odede, became the first person from Africa’s largest slum to graduate from a prestigious American university. Kennedy's accomplishment, and his journey from the Kibera slum to Wesleyan University, was featured in the Huffington Post, on Echoing Green's Social Innovation Blog, and on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams!

At the commencement, Kennedy delivered the Wesleyan senior address with a riveting speech that ended with his peers repeating after him that they would “Promise to champion hope throughout the world." From Kennedy:

My dream is 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.

Shining Hope's work in Kibera is making it possible for many others like Kennedy to realize their dreams of education, and a better future for themselves, their families-- and for all of us. Thank you so much for your continued support of our work!

Are you traveling to Kenya? Or know of someone who is? Shining Hope needs YOUR help to bring over 400 lbs of math curriculum (textbooks and workbooks) to the Kibera School for Girls. If you’re traveling to Nairobi anytime from now through November, and aren’t using one of your two checked bag allowances, please consider taking a bag of math curriculum with you! The bags will be under 50 pounds and picked up by a Kibera School for Girls staff member at your hotel in Nairobi.

Please e-mail if you can help!

Math Curriculum
Math Curriculum


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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Organization Information

Shining Hope for Communities

Location: Middletown, Connecticut - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Shining Hope for Communities
Project Leader:
Shining Hope for Communities
New York, NY United States

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