Kenya: Hawkers Market Girls Centre Project – Initiated by Shariffa Keshavjee

Now in its fourth year, World Challenge 08 is a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level. World Challenge 08 is brought to you by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell, and is about championing and rewarding projects and business which really make a difference.

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. Shariffa Keshavjee 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 Hawkers Market Girls Centre Project has been selected as one of the Finalists for World Challenge 2008.  Visit the website for further details about World Challenge 08 and its finalists.

Vote for them:

World Challenge 2008

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

17 thoughts

  1. what better thing than what you have done for our fellow sisters. Well done and keep it up,hazar Imam will reward you ion plenty and all the very best in your future work
    love and our duas are with you


  2. I agree wholeheartedly with you Mr. Lakhani and Ms. Bheriani, this project fulfills what Hazar Imam says: “These activities are not limited to the Ismaili community but extend to those who share their lives, whether on a local, national or international scale.”(Aga Khan IV, Madagascar, November 27th 2007)

    Voting for this project to win opened on October 1st 2008 and will close on November 21st 2008 at midnight. To vote for this project go to:


  3. Time is running out to vote for the Hawkers Market Girls Centre to win the $20,000 first prize, which it will use to install a solar-powered lighting system to brighten up the Girls Centre. The deadline for voting is November 21st 2008 at midnight. Pass this post around to all your friends on 6 continents and ask them to vote for this project to WIN.


  4. If you haven’t already voted, please do. Your time, energy and prayers are deaply appreciated! So many peoples lives are being changed and the potential for this project to get bigger and help more people is possible if the project gets this kind of recognition and support. Thank you…


  5. Dear all,
    my heartiest praise for the wonderful effort and energy in this venture for which the reward must be many blessings you all receive from those that you have helped in uplifting their lives and livelihood.
    Do not let funding failure deter you in any manner, for success for you all is in the fruits your work bears.

    upedo, raha,latifu…
    Kersi Rustomji.


  6. To follow in the footsteps of Shariffa, with her unstinting and deep love and compassion for humanity, not only just the watchful kind of compassion, is an altruism.

    I know that her Hawkers Market Project will receive accolades. I know that the participants who have benefitted will have lifelong beneficial affects.

    I wish we had more Shariffas in life.


  7. Shariffa,

    Your initiative to engage, inspire and equip these young women and girls to improve their lives, educate and social entrepreneurs and change agents is truly admirable. Your commitment to translate this humanitarian project into effective action will certainly improve the actual day-to-day life of all the underprivileged girls of Kenya who live in poverty.

    More than 1 billion people live in poverty around the world, and a great majority of them are women and children. Women’s poverty and inequality exacerbate abuse and is a violation of their human rights to health and well-being, food, adequate housing, a safe and healthy living environment, social security, employment and development.

    Reducing poverty is an achievable goal. What needs to be done is to solicit support to bring rights and dignity of those who are suffering most to the centre of your efforts.

    I urge all the readers to extend their steadfast support by casting their votes for The Hawkers Market Girls Centre.

    Please encourage your family, friends and networks to support this cause and help alleviate poverty and see these girls as economic change.


  8. The ripple effect of a project like this is staggering. Not only do the girls benefit, but their immediate families too. Furthermore, they become role models for younger girls to aspire to, already some of the girls have chosen to return after their successful re-integration into working society to facilitate, teach and represent the Hawkers Market School. If you do the math, the effect of positive influence is staggering. Please vote!!


  9. I have been following the BBC programmes being voted upon, and in my opinion, I remember the adage “educate a woman and her progeny will follow suit” We will have nation of “caring and educated”
    citizens of the world.

    Thus I still consider the Hawkers Market in Nairobi, a sustainable and worthwhile fellowship for the future.


  10. This is a wonderful project and deserves to win World Challenge 2008.
    Teach a woman how to make a living and the whole family benefits…
    I have just voted for it and I urge all readers to vote too.
    Good Luck :)


  11. I am amazed but not surprised at all the wonderful comments being expressed about this remarkable humanitarian project, which is occuring in Kenya, the ancestral homeland of U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama. In voting for this project to win we can proclaim confidently ‘YES WE CAN’.


  12. I am proud that an Ismaili woman has done so much for the welfare of the underprivileged girls in Kenya! I quote Maya Angelou’s poem –

    “Now you understand
    Just why my head’s not bowed.
    I don’t shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It’s in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    ‘Cause I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Maya Angelou

    God bless!


  13. This is a reminder to the worldwide readership of the much-visited and wildly popular ISMAILI MAIL website that this Friday, November 21st 2008 at midnight is the deadline to vote for the remarkable humanitarian project KENYA HAWKERS MARKET GIRLS CENTRE to win the top prize, which will be invested back into the centre.

    Shariffa Keshavjee’s Project description and video:

    To vote for this project:


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