More than 1.5 million people live in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, squeezed together in a labyrinth of rusted tin shacks and garbage-lined alleyways. Although Kibera is Africa’s largest slum, the Kenyan government considers it an illegal settlement and provides no public services to the impoverished residents. Access to clean water and electricity is almost non-existent; HIV rates are some of the highest in the world; a fifth of all children die before the age of five; and roughly 66% of young women routinely trade sex for food. Here, 23-year-old Denver-native Jessica Posner decided to start a school for girls.
Posner first visited Kibera as a Wesleyan student studying abroad in Kenya. An experienced stage performer, she began working with a youth organization called Shining Hope for Community that used theater as an engine for education and healing. “[Founder] Kennedy Odede had been doing theater to teach public health, and to start a conversation in the community about gender and equality,” says Posner. “We used the space to talk through difficult issues.”
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