Our service-delivery model starts with a girl. Educating a girl in places like Kibera means she will earn more and invest 90% of earnings in her family, be three times less likely to contract HIV, and have fewer, healthier children more likely to reach adulthood. However, education for girls is often undervalued in Kibera, and the lack of access to quality health care and resources often prevent students (especially girls) from staying in school. At the Kibera School for Girls, we provide a superior education with free health care, food, and psychosocial services to give our students the support they need to complete their education, and the tools they need to find a path out of poverty for themselves and their families through an innovative curriculum that fosters leadership, critical thinking, and creativity.
From the Kibera School for Girls, Shining Hope extends our services to the families of our students and the surrounding community. We raise the overall health of the community by providing quality primary and maternal and child health care through our free clinic and by providing residents with clean water and toilet facilities. We provide Kibera with valuable resources such as a computer lab and a well-stocked library, a community garden, adult education and legal services. Finally, we empower the community through theater, soccer teams, youth programs, and women’s empowerment groups.
By linking community services with a school for girls, we are showing that benefiting women benefits the whole community and are helping to make women valued members of society. We are already beginning to identify this shift taking place: In our 2010 baseline survey, participants in our programs were more likely to report gender-equitable divisions of labor and less likely to report domestic violence and abuse. Our students are already showing leadership in their communities at a young age: a majority have taught their extended families and neighbors to read, and when tragedies such as fires befall their neighbors, they organize themselves to set up food drives and collect donations.
Our model nurtures tomorrow’s leaders while simultaneously creating a community that supports and believes in their own future. These symbiotic effects strengthen and uplift everyone—exponentially increasing our impact in eradicating gender inequity and poverty.