Kennedy Odede is founder of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). He is a former street child who lived most of his life in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, founded SHOFCO with savings from his $1 per day factory job. SHOFCO’s programs have currently served over 219,000 individuals as of 2017. The organization is scaling across Kenya’s slums with a model that links free schools for girls to holistic community services for all. SHOFCO is currently in six slums this includes Kibera and Mathare. In 2018 SHOFCO became the winners of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, this making it the first grassroots organisation to receive such an esteemed award. Kennedy was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur, and has won the Mohammed Ali Humanitarian Award. The New York Times, CNN, and Project Syndicate are some of the Media Houses who’ve published his opinion articles on urban poverty. His work has been featured by President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and on five occasions by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times, including Kristof’s book and documentary. Although he was informally educated, Kennedy received a full scholarship to Wesleyan University, where he currently serves on the board of trustees.
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Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)
Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) combats extreme poverty and gender inequity by linking school for girls to high-value, holistic community services for the urban poor. In this model, a girls' school becomes a portal for large-scale social change – an innovative approach to bring gender equality to poor urban communities, inviting both men and women to participate in the solution.