A Ray of Hope – Nairobi, Kenya
At the edge of Kibera, Nairobi’s (and Africa’s) largest slum, sits the Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre, a haven for children and students like these, who have been given a chance to learn and grow in a nurturing environment. Founded in 2003 by native Kenyan, Lilly Oyare, the school has quickly grown from 5 students, to serving more than 200 children in its nursery school program alone. The center also provides services to other groups of children in Kibera including: orphans, those infected and affected by HIV, special needs children, and after school care for primary school children. According to Kibera Law Centre, the Kibera slum houses nearly one million people on a plot of land not quite the size of Central Park. Families of 8 to 10 people cram into tiny tin huts sleeping side by side on uneven dirt floors. With little or no access to clean water, health, sanitation, nor security each day becomes a struggle to survive. It is particularly difficult for women and girls who traditionally have not been given the opportunity to go to school. As many as 66% of girls in Kibera routinely trade sex for food by the age of 16, and many begin at age 6; young women in Kibera contact HIV at a rate 5 times that of their male counterparts. Children like Marta, (below) are among the lucky ones, who have been able to attend Little Rock and primary school. This year she will graduate from the 8th grade. Armed with greater knowledge, but without financial support, her future is uncertain. The image below was made in her home in Kibera, as she discussed her life, and options after graduation.