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Home » Building Community: Jessica Posner at TEDxMileHigh (Full Transcript)

Building Community: Jessica Posner at TEDxMileHigh (Full Transcript)

Jessica Posner

Jessica Posner – TRANSCRIPT

Hi everyone. So nearly five years ago, I moved into Kibera, the largest slum in Africa while I was studying abroad in Nairobi, a long way to go for a girl from Denver, Colorado.

I did not spend my time in Nairobi making out with giraffes. Soon after I arrived in Nairobi, I found myself in Kibera. I was introduced to a young social activist named Kennedy Odede who was born and raised in Kibera, working to make change from within. If everyone could just imagine this with me for a moment, Kibera is an area about the size of Central Park, but in this area there are over 15 million people living without access to services of any kind.

No roads, no health clinics, no sewage systems, no access to education. In Kibera, life is bleak. 66% of girls will be forced to trade their bodies for food simply to survive by the time they are 16. One out of five children won’t live to see their fifth birthday. Life expectancy is 30 years of age, compared to 60 in the rest of Nairobi.

But here I met Kennedy. Kennedy was the oldest of eight children, born and raised in Kibera. His mother had him when she was 15 years old. Kennedy had a job in a factory, earning a dollar a day, which made him lucky, but one day he was able to save 20 cents and start a movement within the slum by buying a soccer ball and bringing young people together to talk about these issues, to perform theater in the streets, to talk about gender violence. Kennedy was especially committed to the struggle of women and girls because he saw his mother as she endeavored to put food on his family’s table.

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