Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)
Shining Hope for Communities is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2009 by CEO Kennedy Odede and COO Jessica Posner. Kennedy grew up and lived in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya for 23 of his 26 years. There, he saw the bleak prospects for women first-hand. After seeing many women’s lives crushed like those of his mother and sisters’, Kennedy dreamed of finding a way to change the position of women in his society.
Shining Hope for Communities is composed of an extremely diverse and experienced coalition of local community members, leaders in international development practice, university students, and grassroots supporters. Kennedy is a current student at Wesleyan University, and has combined his lived experience as a community organizer in Kibera with his elite college education to create an organization that is truly one of a kind. All of Shining Hope for Communities’ work is inspired and overseen by local community members in Kibera.
Together our students, staff, and community members are leading the way to a better tomorrow for themselves, their families, their community—and for all of us. We work hard, and think big because we believe that everyone, everywhere deserves a chance to hope.
What we do
We combat intergenerational cycles of poverty and gender inequality by linking tuition-free schools for girls to essential social services for all through a holistic, community-driven approach. By concretely linking essential health and economic services to a school for girls, we demonstrate that benefiting women benefits the whole community, cultivating a community ethos that makes women respected members of society.