Kibera is the largest slum in all of Africa with about 1 million people (about 50% of them children) living within 2 square kilometres of overcrowded chaos. Most people live within conditions most of us cannot image – tiny shacks (i.e. a 12 x 12 foot room housing often 8 or more people) that lack running water, electricity and a private washroom (i.e. up to 50 people can share a single latrine). There is no garage or sewage systems. Over 50% of people are unemployed and the majority live on less than $1 a day. Because of the slum’s desperate situation, HIV/AIDS, drugs, crime and prostitution are rampant. 1 in 5 children will die before their 5th birthday.
Words cannot really describe the vastness nor the desperation within this place. Click here to get a glimpse with your own eyes.
Meet Sharon. She is a 16 year old youth who was raised in Kibera with her 5 younger siblings and single mother. Sharon’s mother has no formal employment meaning she must struggle to make ends meet by washing clothes for people, providing water to construction sites or, when extremely desperate, prostitution. Because of this, Sharon had to raise her younger siblings. On an average day, she would come home from school at 6pm, take care of the children, cook meals if there was food and put everyone to bed in the evening. This left little time for homework or fun. Nevertheless, she committed to participating in a local grassroots organization called Kibera Sports Development Program (Click here to watch a short video about the organization). This organization makes a 10 year commitment to its participants and, for those who stick with the program through primary school, the director of KSDP tries to find them scholarships to attend secondary school. Despite many obstacles, Sharon completed her Class 8 standardized exam and was accepted to St. Alphonsus Girls High School in January 2011. She is now in Form 2 (Grade 10). Her favourite subjects are computer studies and English. She hopes to be an athlete manager when she finishes school.
Sharon’s previous sponsor had to pull out due to personal reasons meaning Sharon might not be able to continue school this January. On October 14th, 2012 Jennica will be running, as part of Team Kibera, to raise money for Sharon’s education. She will be running the Scotibank Half Marathon in Toronto along with Vince (the organizations founder and director) and another friend (Ashley Motran). School fees for one year of boarding school is 550 USD. We are aiming to raise, at least, half of this by October 14th…. but we need your help. We know we asked many of you for money for photovoice…. and you kindly supported Jennica in realizing her dream of conducting the research project at Tumaini (for an update on that… see here). We are asking for your support in helping to support Sharon so she can realize her dream. Often, we get consumed with our day-to-day life. It is hard to see beyond our own struggles and impeding deadlines to see people we have never met who live in places we cannot fathom. Furthermore, we see the problems of the world as so challenging or even impossible that we may be intimidated to try. We may want to give but be unsure how or if we can trust the source. Jennica has met Vince and can confirm the legitimacy of his organization, which is a direct result of his hard work and passion. There are currently 351 people enrolled in the program and 12 students being sponsored to go to secondary school. As one of the few Kibera inhabitants that make it out of the slum, Vince has the first-hand experience to relate to these kids as well as the passion & drive to be a role model for them. He is changing lives and you can be a part of it. You can help make a significant difference in the life of someone whose already overcome so many obstacles to do something many of us take for granted – go to high school. Any amount will make a significant impact in this young woman’s life so please consider giving.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity.
You are helping to give the gift of a lifetime.
Education is the most powerful weapon
which you can use to change the world.