Yale Divinity Student Explores New Social Solutions in Kenyan Slum


Heaven Berhane, a Master’s student at Yale Divinity School and member of the Yale Black Seminarians, traveled to Kibera, Kenya with support from Tsai CITY’s Student Innovation Fund to do research toward providing a child welfare center for the community. She sat down with us to reflect on her project and her time there.

Q: Tell me about your work with Crossing Thresholds.

A: We went to Kenya to work on a project building on the vision of Simeon Ajigo, founder of Facing the Future School. He works alongside Carter Via who founded Crossing Thresholds.  The main mission of Crossing Thresholds is building schools in Kibera, which is a slum in Kenya. It’s the largest slum in the world, so it has a host of something like a million people.  From that work, Simeon saw that there were additional needs within the community. He wanted us to do a survey.  My classmates and I went door-to-door, house-to-house, and spoke with different family members, asking them questions around health, education, abuse and neglect for children. We were figuring out what the needs were within the community because the assignment’s long-term goal is to build a child welfare center that helps to address the needs of the community beyond the children, including the family systems. So we did some of the groundwork around the research that we hope to use to figure out what resources we can establish within Kibera.