Thanks to support from Newman’s Own Foundation, there is hope and educational opportunity for young girls in one of Africa's largest slums.
Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) works in African slums to develop the next generation of female leaders, and they empower communities through girls' leadership academies, health clinics, clean water, and other programs. Through critical services and programs, SHOFCO is helping to change the lives of thousands of people, and transform urban communities.
Growing up for 23 years in Nairobi, Kennedy Odede lived in the Kibera slum, the largest in Africa, where he experienced violence, lack of opportunity, deep gender inequality and the devastating realities of life in extreme poverty. The oldest of eight children, he became a street-child at the age of 10. Kennedy also witnessed the palpable hope that persists in slums and recognized that people sought something different for themselves, their families and their communities. He dreamed about making a change.
In 2004, Kennedy started Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) and the Kibera School for Girls (KSG) to help tackle one of the core obstacles of urban poverty —the prohibitive level of gender inequality. The school, which bright, at-risk girls attend for free, provides an educational program that enables young girls to reach their full potential, pursue their professional goals and make an impact in their community.
Beldine, a former KSG student says, "Some people think that people from the slums can never make it, they are nothing. Through the school, the girls are inspired and motivated to become great women." Looking ahead to her future, Beldine would like to become a linguistics professor.
In 2017, 22 girls graduated from Kibera School for girls in its first-ever graduating class. All the girls have continued on to high school, with some attending boarding schools in the United States.
Today, there are more than 500 girls in SHOFCO schools preparing to be leaders and agents of change as well as 275,000 people served through related programs.