When I first met Jessica Posner, two years ago, and heard about Shining Hope for Communities, I was amazed by what the organization was accomplishing in Kibera, the biggest and worst slum in Nairobi, Kenya. I was even more amazed that this work was being done by 20-something Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede. Working together, they fulfilled Kennedy’s dream of creating a school for girls.
Fast forward two short years. Kennedy has graduated from Wesleyan University. He and Jessica have married. The first tuition-free school for girls is just one project provided by this organization that provides a wide range of services to the Kibera community, including the Johanna Justin-Jinich Community Clinic, the Shining Hope Community Center that provides women’s empowerment programs, youth programs, adult education and job training, and library – and more. They have also created a toilet access program, a clean water program and gardens.
Shining Hope is saving lives. Jessica and Kennedy have created a sustainable model for helping people at a local level in ways that work for their community. In 2010, Jessica was named America’s Top World-Changer 25 and Under.
Jessica and Kennedy Odede are amazing people – modest and driven to change the world one community at a time. Can you imagine where they will be ten years from now? How this model will grow and spread to other slums? How many lives are not only saved but expanded through their work?
I told Jessica that I want to be her when I grow up. I can’t go back to change the course of my 20-something self, but I can spread the word about Shining Hope. And I can contribute to their work. Here’s a link if you would like to contribute too.