The Shining Hope Community Center opened its doors in the summer of 2010. Every day of the week, the center is buzzing with activity. The two-story building provides a safe and productive space for youth and community members to gather and improve their lives. This space hosts our community library and cyber café, from which we run adult literacy and computer/business skill classes—bridging information barriers. The community center is also used for youth group meetings, health and sanitation outreach, girls empowerment programming, champion soccer teams, microfinance and savings groups, and for counseling and support groups.
In the large first-floor meeting space, members of the SHOFCO Women’s Empowerment Project (SWEP) sew kanga fabric to make bags for sale in Kenya and in the United States. SWEP provides a living wage to women living with HIV/AIDS, and also helps them to launch micro-enterprises. SHOFCO youth members, who participate in our income-generating beading project, have reported over an 80% increase in income in 2010. The center also hosts large community meetings and provides a space for residents to mobilize around issues that affect people in Kibera like rape, violence, and lack of opportunity. By engaging all sectors of the community: men, women, and children, the Shining Hope Community Center and its programs support Kibera residents as they lead the way to a better tomorrow for themselves, their families, their community—and for all of us.