Kennedy Odede grew up in Kibera. At times homeless, hungry, and unable to find work, he transformed his frustrations into opportunity. In 2004, he founded Shining Hope with twenty cents and a soccer ball. His charisma and skilled community organizing fostered the organization’s growth, leading to soccer teams, neighborhood cleans-ups, theater programs, women’s empowerment campaigns and HIV education.

Though he never went to formal schools, he secured a scholorship to study at Wesleyn College in the U.S. after the post-election violence of 2007. With frequent trips back to Kibera, and the collaboration of his wife Jessica Posner, Shining Hope built the Kibera School for Girl’s and an adjacent community center offering health care, clean water, a library and a computer lab.

Life is changing. When I see Kibera today, it’s not the same Kibera that I saw yesterday. That gives me hope.”
Kennedy and the organization he founded have received widesrpead recognition. They have been honored by President Bill Clinton, featured in the New York Times, on NBC and CNN. Recently Kennedy was named one of Frobes Magazine’s 30 under 30 social entrepaneurs. He is a senior fellow with Humanity in Action, and has written mutliple Op-Eds published by the New York Times. He continues to empower his Kenyan neighbors and spread his message of hope.

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