Free education for girls is a portal for large-scale social change in Mathare, the second largest slum in Nairobi.

Why we care: Nearly 45% of girls in Nairobi’s urban slums are out of school, and only 30% of girls who attend primary school complete it. Lack of opportunity perpetuates cycles of gender inequality.

How we’re solving this: By covering school costs for 20 Kenyan girls in Mathare, the second largest slum of Nairobi.

In July of 2014, Shining Hope for Communities will admit 80 girls between ages three and five to be the inaugural class of the Mathare School for Girls. Help sponsor the first class of 20 girls! Your support will fund school supplies, curriculum, school meals, uniforms, staff development, and more.

With an estimated population of 600,000 to 800,000, Mathare is the second-largest slum of Nairobi. There, deep gender inequality, rampant gender-based violence, gangs, and a lack of public services, including education, healthcare, and clean water, persist. Often, girls in this environment report feeling no hope for the future.

Shining Hope for Communities places free education for girls at the center of holistic community services, allowing the school to become a portal for large-scale social change. In August of 2014, construction of the Mathare School for Girls will be complete. And, in January of 2015, we’ll split these 80 students into two classes of 40 pre-K students and 40 kindergarten students to serve as the inaugural classes of the Mathare School for Girls.

We built Kibera’s, Nairobi’s largest slum, first tuition-free primary school for girls in 2009, and are continuing to develop the next generation of leaders by providing a superior education through small classes, exceptional teachers, and cutting-edge curriculum. We’re bringing our successful model of combating extreme poverty and gender inequity through education to the neighboring slum of Mathare.

One long-term challenge we face is to ensure we continue to grow sustainably in our commitment to answer the grassroots demand for our services. To overcome this challenge, we’ll also act to encourage Kenyan government action to restore dignity to the residents of urban slum communities.

Our flagship site in Kibera is proof that our model is innovative and successful. There, 100% of second grade students read at or above a second grade level, compared to only 15% of second graders nationwide in Kenya. In addition, our fourth grade students scored first place in their district on the government exam by a 50 point margin. Be a part of this movement towards social change in Mathare.