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Jessica Posner On Building The First Free School For Girls In A Kenyan Slum

Jessica PosnerUPDATE 6/16/11–Jessica opened the Johanna Justin-Jinich Community Clinic last November which Jessica tells us has already seen over 3,000 patients. It specializes in providing primary health care for women and children. The center is in the name of a friend, an advocate of helping those in need and whose life was taken in a campus shooting.

By Pamela Burke/October 28, 2010

Jessica Posner is doing extraordinary things in a place called Kibera, Kenya. It’s the largest slum in Africa with 1.5 million people living in squalid conditions lacking running water and electricity.

Most of the 500,000 girls under 18 in Kibera don’t get the chance to go to school. But Jessica is making it her mission to provide free education for as many of them as she can.

Starting from square one, she and her co-founder Kennedy Odede worked nonstop to establish the Kibera School for Girls in 2009. Their nonprofit “Shining Hope for Communities” is also opening a health care clinic there in November.

“The deck is so stacked against these people that I care about. But I see moments of transformation, and I would do anything to help them.”

Jessica Posner

I learned about this remarkable 23-year-old graduate of Wesleyan University from Echoing Green, a global nonprofit that awards seed funds to social entrepreneurs working on bold ideas for social change.

I reached Jessica in Kibera working on her various projects and wanted to ask her how she ended up in Kenya launching such groundbreaking programs. And how was she able to start the free girls’ school?… [Read more…]