Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Field Trip to the National Museum!

In 2009, The Kibera School for Girls had two wonderful volunteers: Kate O'Reilly-Jones and Matt Podolin. Both have stayed involved since then, and a few weeks ago they used their tax returns to sponsor a field trip for The Kibera School for Girls! The trip had an amazing itinerary: a visit to Kenya's National Museum, followed by lunch out. After lunch, the girls went to the snake park, and then had a thrilling experience on paddle boat rides in Nairobi's main park. They capped off the day with an ice cream treat. We can't thank Matt and Kate enough for giving the girls this incredibly fun and educational experience!

From Kate:

When Matt and I started volunteering at the Kibera School for Girls in the fall of 2009, I was struck by how many kids in Kibera never leave the slum, despite living minutes away from a bustling city center. Their parents certainly can’t afford bus fare to take them into town, so most kids in Kibera spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week surrounded by metal shacks and dirt roads slippery with sewage.

The Kibera School staff works tirelessly to prepare their students to excel, both within Kibera and wherever the girls choose to go in life. Still, I realized that it might be tough for a six-year old to imagine succeeding at life outside Kibera (college? medical school?) if she has never really seen life outside Kibera.

With this in mind, we took the girls on a zoo fieldtrip that winter, hoping to give them a unique experience and show them a glimpse of the world outside their own. Since they enjoyed it (and other school trips that followed) so much, Matt and I thought it would be fun to sponsor another fieldtrip this past Friday – this time to the Nairobi National Museum and the park. The hope was that by giving them a day free from the stresses of Kibera, they would have a chance to relax, learn something new, and think about all the possibilities the world has to offer. And of course, eat massive amounts of ice cream.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kennedy and President Clinton

We couldn't be more proud of CEO Kennedy Odede, who was featured on a panel with President Clinton and Sean Penn at the closing plenary of CGIU!

This was a conversation that you don't want to miss! Watch it here (beginning at 18:00).
cgiu on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the session!

From President Clinton to Kennedy:

"...this is kind of a breakthrough in Kibera, what you're doing for young girls and women, it's a breakthrough that has to be done everywhere."

"why are you so moved by him? Well he's impressive he got out of this horrible slum, he's at Wesleyan. He gives a good speech, he's charismatic, but oh my God he still cares about all those people he left behind and he knows that a bunch of them could do what he's done if they just had the same set of chances. He sees them. You think about all the people in the world today who are never seen... I'm very grateful that there are people like Kennedy...who are helping."

From Kennedy!

"It's time for a revolution. It's not just Africa---it's everywhere. It's time to change the world."

"The ideas that you have can change the world."

At Shining Hope, we are thrilled to see how Kennedy's ideas really are changing the world, day by day. We too are grateful for people like Kennedy, who really "see" people.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March 24th was World TB Day!

Last week, the Johanna Justin-Jinich Clinic had the amazing opportunity to participate in a festival commemorating World Tuberculosis Day!

Along with other distinguished partners, including DREAM, Medicine Sans Frontier and the U.S. Center for Disease Control, Shining Hope and clinic staff marched through Kibera in a parade to spread awareness about this serious, but treatable, disease.

The parade concluded in Kamkunji, where performances, including a play and poem read by our community health workers, and speeches where staged for government representatives and the Kibera community. Information booths, VCT and TB testing sites were also set up at the event, encouraging everyone in attendance to know their status.

The event was a huge success and a major step for the clinic. Our fantastic new administrator, Angeline, is hard at work coordinating more special events and relationship for the clinic- keep up the good work!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weather Field Trip

This week, the Kibera School for Girls took an exciting field trip to the Kenya Meteorological Society to cap off their latest science unit: weather.

The students have been studying an array of topics in weather for the past month--cloud formations, shadow-lengths, temperature, and weather instruments, to name a few. Our favorite student question of the day: "Where is your barometer?"

They were enthralled to see these professional instruments in action. The day culminated in the release of a weather balloon into the atmosphere, and a private presentation by a weather-forcaster.

Looking forward to returning again next year!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shining Hope's Volunteer Opportunities!

Are you interested in coming to Kenya to volunteer with Shining Hope for Communities? We have new opportunities open for summer and year-long volunteers at our projects in Kibera! If you are interested in living abroad, doing development work, and changing lives, you may be perfect for one of these positions.

We are looking for enthusiastic summer volunteers to work primarily at the Kibera School for Girls for our new Summer Institute. To read more about it, please click here.

We are also looking for interns to help run our programs in Kibera for a year. To read more about these opportunities, please click here.

Please pass the word on to anyone you know who would be interested. We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thank you for helping us reach our goal!

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who made our matching campaign such a great success. Newman's Own Foundation has officially matched your $50,000 in donations!

To read our note of gratitude, please click here.

And here is our thank you video:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Margaret's Safe Place girls update!

The girls at our boarding facility, Margaret's Safe Place, are doing incredibly well! They are all flourishing in the house under the care of our school's social worker and they absolutely love living together as sisters!

This weekend we visited the house and they paused their game of soccer to enjoy lollipops!

From left to right: Matron Ishmael, Lucy, Beldin, Prudence, Sarah, Ciro, and Faith

Monday, February 7, 2011

KSG Parent Meeting

The Kibera School for Girls held a meeting for all of its parents this past Friday. Baba Diana (Father of pre-kindergarten student Diana) is the Chair of the Parent Committee. He can be seen here preparing his notes at the KSG library, where the meeting was held. The Parent Committee consists of 6 highly dedicated parents who meet every week. They help plan meetings with all of the KSG parents to discuss important issues.

The most recent parent meeting discussed topics relevant to the start of the new school year, such as class reassignment. We held academic assessments at the end of 2010 and have moved some students around according to their skill levels. Our Administrator George and Baba Diana explained this carefully to the parents. We also gave away clothing donated by a Kenyan company, which the parents were extremely happy to receive.

It was a very successful meeting!

Friday, January 28, 2011

We Have Vaccines!

The Johanna Justin-Jinich Community Clinic officially received vaccines today in Kibera! We are all very excited about this new development for our child wellness program.

Pictured here is our nurse Katherine holding one of our new vaccines. Katherine sees all of our expectant mothers and young pediatric patients at the JJJ Clinic!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

KSG Students Brushing Their Teeth!

The Kibera School for Girls has a new tradition -- brushing teeth together after lunch! Each of our students has a toothbrush with her name on it. They have learned how to properly brush their teeth (with toothpaste) and are so excited to own their own toothbrushes! The SHOFCO compound turns into a tooth-brushing-party around 1pm every day.

It is adorable to watch!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sarah's Trip to the Eye Hospital!

Yesterday, we took our student Sarah to Lions Sight First Eye Hospital in Nairobi -- a wonderful facility specializing in all kinds of eye care!

Sarah has been suffering from chronic allergies that make her eyes inflamed and itchy, causing her to scratch them and impair her vision. They checked her symptoms and her vision yesterday at her appointment. We came in expecting Sarah to need a surgical procedure -- an injection of steroids directly in the eye -- but were relieved to learn that she no longer needed the procedure!

The doctor is optimistic that Sarah's allergies will decrease as she gets older, and was happy to tell us that the prescription eye drops have made huge improvements for the inflammation and itchiness of Sarah's eyes since her visit last month! Thanks to the generous help of her wonderful sponsor, we have been able to take Sarah for regular follow-ups at Lions Eye Hospital.

Interested in helping a KSG student like Sarah through sponsorship? To learn more, please click here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SHOFCO's Research Project!

Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) recently completed its first research project in Kibera. We trained 20 community members from Kibera to conduct interviews and use GPS units to randomly locate the participants’ houses. Programs Director Ari Tolman led this training and helped create a comprehensive survey that covered all aspects of life in collaboration with our research team. The SHOFCO interviewers successfully completed interviews with over 1,200 households in Kibera.

We are so excited to enter the data and analyze the results! The goal of the survey is to assess people’s true needs in Kibera and SHOFCO’s impact over time. We will conduct the survey again one year from now, and every few years after that.

On December 18th we held a huge community celebration at the SHOFCO Community Center to thank the community for participating in this important project. Over 1,500 people came to enjoy food, music, and a raffle drawing. We are thrilled with the success of this project!!