A recent story on NBC’s Rock Center featured two faces familiar to many in the Wesleyan community. The segment, reported by Chelsea Clinton, began with a shot of the former first daughter and Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) founders Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner ’09 walking through the narrow streets of the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
The report, titled “Couple’s School becomes Lifeline in Kenyan Slum,” aired on Thursday, Jan. 17.
Clinton visited the Kibera School for Girls, which was founded in Kibera by Odede and Posner along with SHOFCO volunteers and staff members in 2009. The school was conceived as an effort to combat poverty and gender inequality in the impoverished Kenyan slum.
“By providing a superior education, daily nourishment, uniforms, and schools supplies all free of charge, we are able to give the brightest and most at-risk girls the power of hope and education,” SHOFCO’s website states.
The report, which was roughly six minutes long, prominently featured Odede and Posner, as well as several students and one parent of a student. At the end of her report, Clinton explained that SHOFCO hopes to eventually expand its operations.
“They’re hoping to build a second school and health clinic and water treatment center in another neighborhood of Kibera,” Clinton told Williams.
Member of the Executive Board of the University’s chapter of SHOFCO Emily Weitzman ’14 was at the Kibera School for Girls when Clinton visited.
“The girls said Chelsea was really nice and they told me that they enjoyed her teaching their class,” Weitzman wrote in an email to The Argus. “They were told she was the daughter of an American president, and they asked her what that was like. One 3rd grade student, Marion, was particularly excited because she dreams of becoming a journalist when she grows up.”
Members of the University’s chapter of SHOFCO said that they hope the report will increase popular support for the organization.
“I think that the interview, which was so wonderfully done, will really help further place SHOFCO and the Kibera School for Girls’ message at a greater forefront in the non-profit world,” Coordinator of the University’s chapter of SHOFCO Maeve Russell ’14 wrote in an email to The Argus. “This will certainly help foster greater support, not only for the school, but also [for] the multitude of high-value and community-driven social services established and supported by SHOFCO.”
SHOFCO Associate Managing Director Katherine Bascom ’10 noted that the report has already fueled further interest in the organization.
“We’ve seen an outpouring of support in response to the piece—and are especially thankful for those supporters who have been involved in our movement since our Wesleyan days!” Bascom wrote in an email to The Argus. “The year ahead will bring many opportunities, and we are hopeful that through the continued support of our community—especially the support of Wesleyan students, staff, and alumni—SHOFCO will be able to continue growing our impact in Nairobi!”
Weitzman also praised the report.
“In a short video, you can’t possibly reflect the environment that exists on the ground at the Kibera School for Girls—the energy and enthusiasm that each student brings with her to school every morning,” Weitzman wrote. “You can’t [possibly] capture the extent of how much this school has changed the lives of its students. But I think the feature did a wonderful job of giving a glimpse into the incredible impact that SHOFCO has had on the lives of the students at the Kibera School for Girls, and on the community in Kibera.”