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Korogocho is one of Kenya’s darkest slums, plagued by gang violence, food and water shortages, and rampant pollution. Most children have no future except for scavenging through trash piles or resorting to lives of crime. One day, a boy named Daniel Onyango decided to do more, creating a band called the Hope Raisers to inspire the kids of Korogocho. His friend, Mutura Kuria, quickly joined in.
In The Hope Raisers: How a Group of Young Kenyans Fought to Transform Their Slum and Inspire a Community, Nihar Suthar tells the amazing story of how Daniel and Mutura turned the band into a platform for change. They started teaching children on the streets how to express themselves through art and established a skating team after finding a pair of rollerblades in the dump. Suthar closely follows the story of one rebellious girl, Lucy Achieng, who refused to get married off at a young age and instead used competitive rollerblading to reach for her dreams. Lucy continues to inspire girls to stand up for themselves and challenge the longstanding practices in Korogocho of early marriage and prostitution.
The Hope Raisers is an eye-opening look into a world of poverty and violence where children receive only a basic education and are left with little to no means to get out. Yet it also reveals the remarkable impact that a few determined individuals can have on their community, even in the most challenging of conditions.
Part of the proceeds from all book sales will be donated to the Hope Raisers and toward improving the slum of Korogocho.
It’s always a challenge to read about other cultures from our American standpoint, but at least we have a chance to learn. Too many other people around the world do not.
The author describes life in an African neighborhood slum where gang wars over garbage dumping rights at a place that also provides means for the lucky who find food and things to sell. It is a life of so little that treating others viciously is their main method of coping. Depravity is the law of the land, and I cannot help but wonder how that could possibly change in a culture so dry of dignity and respect across gender and class.
Readers follow Mama Bonie and her family as she makes the best of life and raises her children in a faith-based community for the first few chapters. At church, son Mutura meets a friend, Daniel, who makes music and learns about world government. They form a group, Hope Raisers, with a goal to encourage awareness of the poverty and violence and find help to renovate the area and maybe even build a school. They learn of opportunities to get involved in movements that could offer a chance to rise from abject lack. Their music video raises attention to their plight and gets them funding, but unfortunately gang and tribal violence in 2008 set back their efforts. Beset with a lack of understanding and connectivity between greater government and their Slum Upgrading Programme, efforts to improve life for those in the slums moved forward and back in herky-jerky pace.
When Daniel and Mutura learned about roller-blading, they brought the sport back to their neighborhood, and along with their friend Lucy, a star soccer player, form competitive skating leagues. Who would have thought that team skating provides a great change than a pile of money to fund ineffective programs?
Using dialog in this work of creative nonfiction, Suthar shares this unique story of raising hopes for children of the slums. Included is a discussion guide and extensive bibliography. Recommended for readers who want to learn of other cultures and are looking for involvement opportunities.
About the Author
Nihar Suthar is an award-winning writer living in Tampa, Florida, covering inspirational stories around the world. Learn more about him, his work, and his mission at www.niharsuthar.com.