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The Kibera School for Girls is the only tuition free school, located in the largest slum in Africa. KSG was started in 2009 by Shining Hope for Communities, serving 63 students pre-k through 2nd grade, with the goal of expanding the school every year. This coming year, we will be welcoming 40 new students into our pre-k class. Construction is under way to building a new school building, complete with 18 new classrooms. With the expansion to a new building, it is necessary to have more computers to fit the growing capacity. Currently the school only has 1 computer on the premises. Please help bridge the informational barrier and increase our students’ access to Internet and computer programs. Computers are one of the most valuable resources at any school, and becoming technologically connected is especially important in a place like Kibera, which can be so isolated from the rest of society. Give us the opportunity to enhance the educational experience of our students, old and new. These computers will also greatly benefit our staff of teachers, administrators, and volunteers; help us to expand with a new class into our new school building!


At our pilot site, Kenya’s Kibera slum, the UN estimates that as many as 1.5 million people live in the informal settlement. However, Kenya’s government does not formally acknowledge the slum’s existence. The government contends that Kibera’s residents are illegally squatting on government-owned land and thus refuses to provide any services or infrastructure to Kibera residents such as toilets, roads, hospitals, or schools. The lack of accessible resources or services hurts everyone, but leaves women devastated because men are in control of any existing resources.

Kennedy Odede is the co-founder and Executive Director of Shining Hope for Communities. Kennedy lived in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya for 23 of his 25 years. There, he saw the bleak prospects for women first-hand. Kennedy’s father abused his mother, Jane, and kept the family hungry, spending what little money they had on alcohol. Subsequently, Jane taught Kennedy about gender equality. The eldest in a family of eight, Kennedy sold peanuts on the road starting at age seven to put himself and his siblings through school. Despite his efforts, two of Kennedy’s sister's had to drop out after becoming teenage mothers—one impregnated as the result of a gang rape. After seeing many women’s lives crushed like those of his mother and sisters’, Kennedy dreamed of finding a way to change the position of women in his society.

The first time Kennedy had extra money—20 cents in 2005—he bought a soccer ball and started the first youth group in Kibera founded and run by slum residents. He ran this group for 4 years with no funding. Through his faith in people’s abilities to change their own lives, he expanded this group into one of the largest organizations in the slum, working with 3,000+ people on AIDS
education, female empowerment, microfinance, sanitation, and community health work. Because of this work, Kennedy is often called the “mayor of Kibera.” Kennedy combines his intimate understanding of Kibera’s daily challenges with the skills he is gaining through an education at Wesleyan University. As one of very few people from Kibera to attend an accredited four-year college, Kennedy knows what it takes to get out of poverty, and what is needed to transform his community.


The students we currently serve are excelling academically, already 80% performing at grade level or above. Some of our first and 2nd grade students are reading at 8th and 9th grade levels, and they only began learning English at KSG two years ago. Our school has also already saved the lives of many students, protecting them from rape and prostitution while providing the educational foundation for a path out of the slum. The impact our school has already had on current students is enormous: 63 girls out of the 1.5 million people who live in the slum of Kibera. It is vital that our school continues to expand and reach as many girls as possible. Each student we admit to KSG is a life we can forever change. Our work is vital to the growth, health, and education of each student, as well as important to the progression of the community. Our model links the school for girls with essential social services that we provide free of charge to all residents of Kibera. The more our school can grow, the more people we can reach, and the better chance we have of making an impact on changing society’s respect and value placed on women and women’s education. We plan to enroll a new class every year, but even this is not enough. We want to eventually build more schools, giving hope and opportunity to as many girls worldwide as possible. At KSG, the school will eventually go up to 8th grade, when girls will be given scholarship to attend the best area high schools. Our current expansion project is well under-way, but to have a successful impact, we need the necessary recourses. At Kibera School for Girls, we like to say “education is the key.” This is true, but certain supplies are necessary for the most beneficial educational experience. In the case of KSG, computers are the “key” resource to the success of our expansion.

Team Credentials

Shining Hope for Communities has had widespread impact and support. Shining Hope provides resources and social services to the entire community, including a health clinic, sanitary toilets, water, gardens, gender violence support groups, microenterprise for HIV positive women, literacy/computer training, and hundreds of jobs. Because of the support Shining Hope gives to Kibera, the Kibera School for Girls is seen as essential to a community that does not usually value women’s education. In only 2 years of existence, the Kibera School for Girls has grown tremendously. Currently, construction is preparing a new school building for the incoming class, carrying out the plan enroll a new grade to the school every year.

Our impact has mitigated local deficits in education, sanitation, health, food security, and technological job skills. Kennedy and Jessica were recently awarded the prestigious 2010 Echoing Green Fellowship given to the world’s best emerging social entrepreneurs. They have received support for their work from The Newman’s Own Foundation, and Shining Hope also won the international 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition. Jessica was recognized as America’s “Top World Changer 25 and Under” by Do Something and VH1. Kennedy spoke as a panelist at Clinton’s Global Initiative Conference, and was recently invited to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Our students, staff and community members are leading the way to a better tomorrow for themselves, their families, their community—and for all of us.


  • An Update from Kibera!

  • International Day of the Girl

    Students and teachers celebrated the International Day of the Girl which ended in a performance in our new Great Hall of our new school building. Here are some pictures of the fun day!
  • Rooftop Yoga

    [color=rgb(119, 119, 119)][font='Palatino Linotype', 'Book Antiqua', Palatino, serif]Every Monday, the Africa Yoga Project joins forces with KSG to teach the girls yoga -- providing them some much needed relaxation and strengthening. This month, the girls enjoyed yoga class on our rooftop playground.[/font][/color]
  • Pictures from new playground at Kibera

    Here are some pictures of our students playing on the rooftop playground of our new school building: