Where we work
800,000 people live in the Mathare Valley slum of Nairobi, Kenya an area of less than a square mile. Rivers of sewage run through the slum towns, carrying garbage and human waste. Most families crowd as many as 10 people into one-room shanties made of scrap wood, corrugated tin, or mud without electricity, running water, or toilets.
Thousands of children have no homes but the streets, and turn to begging, stealing, prostitution, and drug-dealing to survive. The explosion in the number of the poor children on the streets of Nairobi and other Kenyan cities can be traced to urbanization, the breakdown of the extended family support systems, ethnic tension, lack of social services and affordable education, skyrocketing unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and droughts. There is little work for adults, and much of what is available is degrading, menial labor with almost non-existent wages.
CMF International has been at work in Kenya since 1977, placing our first team in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, among the urban poor in 2000. With success in our Community Health Evangelism program, then partnership with Missions of Hope International, we have increased the success in the fight against poverty through microfinance projects. This program is now officially known as BigDent making a dent in poverty. Our greatest concentration of projects is in the Mathare Valley, but we will expand into other slum areas as funds and personnel are available.
BigDent's microfinance projects are also being prepared for other countries where we already have personnel in place: Mexico, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Asia.