Beatrice's Dream: A Story of Kibera Slum

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Beatrice is a thirteen-year-old orphan in Kibera, Nairobi - a Kenyan shantytown built on refuse and rubbish and one of the biggest slums in Africa. In this book she describes her life: her walk to school, the dust that blows between her teeth and the mud she wades through, her teacher's down-to-earth encouragement, her fear of being alone, how safe she feels at school...

This sensitive account in words and photographs reveals the realities of ...

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Overview

Beatrice is a thirteen-year-old orphan in Kibera, Nairobi - a Kenyan shantytown built on refuse and rubbish and one of the biggest slums in Africa. In this book she describes her life: her walk to school, the dust that blows between her teeth and the mud she wades through, her teacher's down-to-earth encouragement, her fear of being alone, how safe she feels at school...

This sensitive account in words and photographs reveals the realities of life for some of the world's most deprived people - and offers hope as Beatrice follows her dream.

About Kibera slum

Kibera is in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, in east Africa. It is one of the largest slums in the world with over half a million people living there – about a quarter of the population of Nairobi. The slum covers 2.5 square kilometres (630 acres). There are no roads and few of the residents have modern toilets, clean drinking water or electricity. The crime rate is high and disease spreads rapidly in the unsanitary conditions.
Many people come to Kibera from rural areas to look for jobs in the city. A large proportion of the children have become orphans because so many adults have died from AIDS – many people in Kibera are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.
A number of organisations work in the slum offering medical care, finding jobs and houses, and encouraging people to take part in sports and education. KIKOSHEP (Kibera Community Self-Help Program) provides care and advice for people with HIV/AIDS. They also have a youth centre where youngsters like Beatrice can go for health information and advice. The centre shows films and arranges sports and social events.
I first met Beatrice at the KIKOHEP primary school. Since then, she has graduated at the top of her class and is eligible to go on to secondary school. In Kibera, this is most children’s dream – they see education as the best way to escape from the slum.
But sadly, many girls are sent away by their families into arranged marriages or end up on the street as prostitutes, so they are never able to realise their dream.
The Kenyan Government and the United Nations have now started building new homes in Kibera so that they can move thousands of people out of the slum into better living conditions.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Beatrice, a 13-year-old orphan who lives with her brother and his wife in a Kenyan slum, describes her current life and her hopes for the future. She touches on her 30-minute walks to school, her classes, and helping her brother in his shop. Vivid color photographs give readers a firsthand glimpse into a world about which they are likely to know nothing. Important and potentially sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS and gender equality are brought up in a general way, but not explicitly discussed. An afterword provides background information about Kenya and discusses in greater detail the AIDS crisis and how it is being addressed. Although the book deals with difficult subject matter, it does so in an upbeat and positive way. It also underscores the importance of education; because of her hard work and diligence, Beatrice's dreams of becoming a nurse might come true. A unique and important addition.—Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Life for a girl in the slums of Nairobi. Beatrice, 13, tells readers about her life in Kibera, a shantytown of discarded metal, wood and other refuse. The youngest of five children, she lives with her eldest brother, Francis, and his wife. Her father perished in in a car accident, and her mother died of tuberculosis when she was 9 years old. Every weekday morning, rain or shine, she walks half an hour to school, a building built of tin. Her favorite subjects are English and Kiswahili, the official language of Kenya. Beatrice is the school timekeeper during lunch. They eat githeri, a special Kenyan dish made from beans and maize. She stays after school for extra lessons but must be home before six o'clock, when it gets dark. Often, her dog Soldier is waiting for her. Beatrice's nightly chores include making dinner and ironing. If there's enough paraffin in the small lamp, she'll also study. On weekends, she works in her brother's shop, washes clothes and helps with the marketing. All of this is told in Beatrice's matter-of-fact first-person voice. The book ends with a two-page description of the Kibera slum and a sad picture of it. Stone's beautiful color photographs—40 in all—work in tandem with Williams' simple, direct prose to capture the poverty of Kibera as well as Beatrice's resilience and many unique aspects of her life, likely unfamiliar to most American children. Informative and affecting. (Picture book. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847800190
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/23/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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