Monday, September 15, 2014

Abdul's US Tour: Public Events

As many of you know by now, Abdul Kassim, the Executive Director of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy will be traveling throughout the US for 5 weeks to speaking to the importance of educating girls in extreme poverty. If you find yourself  in Denver, the Twin Cities, Los Angelos, San Diego, Boston, New York, or Washington D.C., join us at an event!  Contact Ryan Sarafolean at for more information on any of the events.
Thursday,  September 25th       Beverly Hills, CA
  • Abdul is the keynote speaker at the annual Gala for Groundwork Opportunities (GO). GO identifies and partners with local leaders in the developing world and provides then with the start-up capital necessary to turn their vision into reality. For more information on the event, please visit:
Saturday,  September 27th        Denver, CO
  • Abdul will be climbing Mt. Bierstadt on the Front Range!  It is one of Colorado’s most popular 14ers and is easy to access.  
  • We are meeting at the Trailhead at 7:00am. The climb is 6.0 miles round trip and 2,770 feet elevation gain
  • Starting Location: Guanella Pass Trailhead, take the Georgetown exit off I-70 and proceed to Guanella Pass
  • Be sure to pack lunches, water, rain gear, jacket etc. Please contact Ryan Sarafolean at if you plan on joining.
Sunday,  September 28th          Monument, CO
  • Abdul will be speaking at Trinity Lutheran Church (17750 Knollwood Dr, Monument, CO) for all three services starting at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 10:45am. Everyone is welcome to join.
Tuesday, September 30th         Minneapolis, MN
  • The Learning Abroad Center will be hosting an event where practitioners, experts, and Abdul will be speaking on girl education and community development. 
  • Location: Campus Club, University of Minnesota @ 5:00-7:00pm
    **** Appetizers & Cash bar. PLEASE RSVP at:
Thursday, October 2nd Saint Paul, MN
  • Come hear from several different Cretin-Derham Hall alumni speak about their experiences working at KGSA and how it has altered the course of their life and work. Abdul will speak to the significance of the C-DH community involvement and the direction of KGSA.  
  • Location: 550 Albert Street S. St. Paul, MN - C-DH Commons Room @ 6:00-8:30pm

Friday,  October 10th San Diego, CA
  • Evening fundraiser in Rancho Sante Fe @ 6:00-8:00pm.
    • Contact Ryan Sarafolean for more details - 

Saturday,  October 11th San Diego, CA
  • On the International Day of the Girl, join high school peer education group Global Arms of Advocacy (GAA) to learn about empowering girls and women through health and education. Hear Abdul Kassim — founder and executive director of Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, a free, all-girl high school in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya — tell his story and those of the women and girls who inspire him. Plus, listen to other guest speakers, work on a creative project to benefit others, and view a chapter of Girl Rising, a film that highlights the power of educating girls internationally. You’ll leave confident in your power to make an impact.
  • 1:00-4:00pm located at the Balboa Program Center - 1231 Upas Street, San Diego, CA.  (More information HERE)

Sunday,  October 12th San Diego, CA
  • An evening with celebrating the wonderful partnership between the Global Journal Project and the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. The event will be help from 4:00-8:00pm. Location is still to be determined. Email Ryan at if interested in attending.

Thursday,  October 16th Boston, MA
  • Join the KGSA Foundation and the Harvard Engineers without Borders group for a talk on international development and sustainable engagement strategies.
    ** Location: TBD, 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Email Ryan at if interested in attending

Friday,  October 17th Boston, MA
  • KGSA is hosting an event with MIT. The Topics discussed are below.
    • Location: Building 10 and Room 485 (fourth floor) 1:30 - 3:30pm
    • (1) Brief history of the school, Kibera context
    • (2) Goals in education/how does what is taught at KGSA compare to other Kenyan schools
    • (3) Planning details of building a school in Kibera - I remember you had a lot of interesting planning comments and think it could be of interest to the planners here
    • (4) Challenges - or opportunities for KGSA that could be brainstormed with the folks in the room
Sunday,  October 19th Weston, MA
  • Abdul will be speaking at a Fundraiser in Weston, MA from 2:00 - 4:00pm
    Location: 55 Ridgeway Road. Weston, MA
    ** Light Appetizers and Drinks Provided
    ** All funding goes directly to the Elevate Education Capital Campaign building a 4-story Boarding and Community Center in Kibera.
Friday,  October 24th Washington, D.C.
  • Abdul is speaking at an event at American University with practitioners and experts on Men and Masculinity in the field of Gender Equality @  5:30 - 7:00pm
    • Location: 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The importance of the Leadership Living Center (LLC)

When we asked KGSA students why building the Leadership Living Center was necessary, this is one of the many responses we got. We thought you should hear it straight from the source. 

8pm. The time I leave school, oblivious of the treats of walking at night in Kibera. 11 pm, the time I go to sleep after doing all the necessary chores at home. Leaving school late in the evening is the only option I have, doing chores at home till late at night is the only way I can avoid a reprimand from my parents; at the end of the day I am just a girl who wants to get an education and later join college. Sometimes, it looks like I am fighting a battle, the battle to being in school.

I do not have electricity at home. I have to always create time to study things I have learnt in school or else my dream of joining university will just be dream and I am not ready to disappoint myself. Education is more important to me than being unsafe because of walking home at night. I want to get the right grade to go to university and to utilize the available studying resources at KGSA in order to get to where I want in life. I only have school and my teachers as the only people who believe in me. I need to prove to my parents and myself that education is important and every girl has the right to go to college and decide for herself in life.  

Choosing between doing chores and studying is a thing that I really would want to get out of. Girls having a safe place to live in can only be achieved if we have a boarding school at KGSA. The boarding will not only shield us from a lot but also it will also improve our chances of joining college and getting good education and I know for sure that my time in high school will be devoted to studying and not doing chores or stressing about how I will walk from KGSA to home at night when I get to be in a boarding school. The minute I will see a bed for me to sleep in and a room for me to sturdy in at night at KGSA is the day I can fully tell myself- I am going to make it.

The dormitory is going to be a safe place for all of us at KGSA and our community at large. First, the time spent doing chores at home and the number of girls dropping out school or the number of girls being attacked because of walking at night will depreciate. I am saying this because I know, I know that if I have a safe place to live in, I will never have to worry about leaving school late, about my safety or health. I will never worry if I do not have food at night, I will never worry if I get demoralized at home by people who think education is a waste of time. I am going to have my fellow sisters and the KGSA family inspiring me every day. Education is a right like any other and we are going to fight for it. We, the KGSA girls need a boarding school. We will be safe and if we are safe, then our dreams and ambitions will be safe. It will be like a cycle and by the end of all of this we will not only have 100 girls to protect but the whole community; because people learn by seeing and if they see KGSA girls staying in school and getting good grades then the younger girls and women will want to emulate and that is how we are going to change Kibera-Just by building a dormitory.

Girls at KGSA with me included have the potential to get good grades, they have the ability to be influential people in the society. The only thing that needs to be done is to make sure that all obstacles aforementioned are removed from their way and that can only be achieved through a boarding school or rather a safe home for us. 

-Sally, Form 2

The KGSA Foundation has entered in an online challenge awarding $500,000 to different ideas that can make space safer and more empowering for women and girls. If you would like to help us advance to the next round, please click below and vote for our idea.  It takes 2 minutes but will have a lasting benefit.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Education in the Slums

I’ll start by saying this; educating children living in the slums in schools in the slums is not an easy task. I am saying this out of my own and others experience. Statistics show, education wise, most students coming from Kibera who perform well academically study in schools are not Kibera. And also that most children staying in slums; and in poverty do not stay with their real parents. This greatly affect their academic performance in school since we all know that most guardians, if not all mistreat the children and sometimes they make them the bread winner in the family. They, most of the times have to concentrate more on how to cater for the family, and neglect unknowingly their school work  as this is the only way they can be sure of having a roof over their heads and something for their stomach. As much as I would love to say that all these are fictitious, believe it or not it’s all true and very painful to see a 12 year old child out in the cold 3a.m in the morning selling their bodies and goods of which they are expected to report to school the that morning. All these happen right under our noses.
Dalifa Yusuf - KGSA graduate & current student at Maseno University
Apart from being the bread winner of the family, most children are usually subjected to domestic violence which of course deters their academic focus. Usually, they are physically, sexually or emotionally involved in the violence. They are abused brutally and when they attend school, they lose their utmost focus remembering what happening and meditating upon what might happen when they go back “home” after school. The domestic violence also traumatizes some children and cause mental problems, which forces them to be admitted in an asylum where they spend most of their school time getting proper treatment. Children are raped, defiled and used as drug trafficker. They are used as the bait in many dirty works. In this era, children are also used to commit crimes. The only hope that these children have is the constitution and a handful of people who are human enough to fight for their rights and listen to their woes. I could have considered our government to be helpful but it is the host of these criminals. They allow these people back to the society and in turn they continue causing harm to the children.
Most successful people say that “you should use your suffering, obstacles and anything that can make you go astray from your path of success as a reason for your rise and not your downfall.” I beg to differ with that because, if only they were to fit in the shoes of these poor souls, then they would have the taste of the pain and agony the children have to go through in their lives. So, that statement is not realistic. In this life you never compare yourself to another person since you can never tell what the individual had to do or go through in order to reach where he/she is at the moment. For instance, the case of children living in the slums and in poverty, they take a very different course in reaching their goals. Practically, these children live their adulthood at their childhood stage. How would they even enjoy their childhood when they have a lot to worry about? How would a child even give a hundred percent of his/her energy when eighty percent of the same energy is used outside the school? You tell me because I don’t have the answer.
Well it’s not proper to only speak of negative issues on a subject. So I will also touch on the light of education in the slums. Like I had said earlier, there is a handful of people who are striving to make life possible for the children. They have formed NGO’s that support education, fight for their rights, and also offer free guiding and counseling session to the children in the slums. Schools have been constructed and seminars have been held to restore the dignity and will to live of most children who have had traumatic experiences in their life in the slum. All the deeds mentioned are good; are of best intention and are greatly appreciated by the children. Unfortunately all this is done in vain if the actual problem has not been curbed. Just as charity begins at home, so does the biggest problem starts with the children’s life at home. One thing that should be clear in our minds is that anyone below the age of 18 years is a child and should be given our utmost care and understanding regardless of the background they come from and a child in any society is everybody’s. And we always keep this in mind then God will bless us all.

Written by Dalifa Yusuf, KGSA Graduate '12 & Current Student at Maseno University