2008 Finalist Projects

Market economy

Hawkers Market Girl Centre - Kenya

Hawkers Market Girl Centre provides education and opportunities to girls from Nairobi's slums.

It's estimated that at least half the population of Nairobi live in slums. The children of the slums flock to the city's markets to search for food among their waste. The harrowing sight of young girls scavenging for food on stinking tips was a spur to action for some of Hawkers Market's customers. As Shariffa Keshavjee remembers, "The girls were pulling at our skirts, saying 'teach me, teach me'. And then we realised that we have to educate these girls."

Shariffa and other customers set up the Hawkers Market Girls Centre to give at least some slum children the chance of a better life. The Centre offers vocational training in professions such as hair dressing and tailoring, as well as classes in life skills such as computer literacy and basic healthcare. Each year up to forty girls are either employed or set up in business with assistance from the project.

The Centre also offers valuable lessons in how to make small incomes go further. The girls grow their own vegetables, harvest rainwater and earn some extra cash by selling homemade charcoal briquettes. "Giving the girls an income generating skill is very important," says Shariffa. "We can't ask them to contribute to the project, but by selling what they make they feel like they are giving something back."

If you can see this message you need to download the latest Flash Player.
Click here to download.

You also need to have JavaScript enabled