Press Releases

Reflections of Hope Winner Announced

March 13, 2008

Contact: Nancy Coggins, APR
405.235.3313 or 405.760.9053


OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum will honor Carolina for Kibera, Inc., an organization whose mission is to fight abject poverty and help prevent violence through community-based development in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya and beyond, as the recipient of the 2008 Reflections of Hope Award.  The award, established in 2005 as part of the 10th anniversary commemoration of the Oklahoma City bombing, honors a living person or group whose extraordinary work has significantly impacted a community, state or nation. It also exemplifies that hope not only survives but also thrives in the wake of political violence.

This prestigious international award also includes a $25,000 honorarium, which Carolina for Kibera can use to further develop programming and develop young leaders in Kibera and across Kenya.

Carolina for Kibera, its founder U.S. Marine Captain Rye Barcott and Executive Director Salim Mohamed from Kenya will be honored at a reception and dinner on April 19, 2008, at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel, Grand Ballroom, in downtown Oklahoma City. The keynote speaker for the event will be ABC anchor Bob Woodruff, who was seriously injured while imbedded with American troops in Iraq.

“Carolina for Kibera focuses on helping the people of Kibera by giving them the tools and the resources to help themselves. The development of sports programs, centers for girls and medical clinics in one of the poorest districts in Kenya gives the citizens of that community great hope for their future,” said Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial Executive Director. “The programs train Kenyans to take action to change their own circumstances and make the future of their neighborhoods much brighter for generations to come.”

Established in 2001, Carolina for Kibera is an international, nongovernmental organization based in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. In the United States, Carolina for Kibera is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation and major affiliated entity and program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill based at the Center for Global Initiatives.  Run by Kenyans and advised by American and Kenyan volunteers, the organization promotes youth leadership and ethnic and gender cooperation in Kibera through sports, young women's empowerment, and community development. Additionally, CFK works to improve basic healthcare, sanitation, and education in Kibera. Serving as a model for holistic, community-based urban development world-wide, CFK has helped grassroots organizations develop youth-based programs in six other nations and dozens of communities in Kenya.

Kibera, east Africa’s largest slum, is a microcosm of many of the world’s most vexing issues – poverty, poor healthcare, severe water shortage, the spread of HIV infection, and lack of women’s rights.  More than 700,000 people, representing 42 African tribes, live in a 630-acre area (about 2.5 square kilometers) outside of Nairobi, Kenya.  It is one of the most densely populated urban settlements in the world.  The vast majority of Kibera’s residents live in abject poverty with few government services. Half of the population of Kibera is under the age of 15. At least one-half of Kibera's children do not graduate from secondary school.

Most recently, The Kibera slum of Nairobi has been one of the places most adversely affected by the ethnic violence gripping the country following the disputed presidential elections. Beginning March 3, 2008, Carolina for Kibera staff and volunteers have reached out to citizens in a new way to ease tensions and bring the community back together.  A recent entry from Carolina for Kibera’s blog reads provides an update of the outreach efforts.

“CFK just launched the JAMII YA KIBERA (Family of Kibera) peace campaign throughout the slum.  For the next four weeks, campaign organizers will be covering the community in JAMII YA KIBERA logos, posters, billboards, t-shirts, and stickers.  Radio spots in Swahili will run on local stations.  A team of youth leaders in Kibera has completed a one-week, intensive mediation and counseling training, and is reaching out to residents to bring people together at community forums. The team is facilitating critical discussions about issues of ethnic tension, cooperation, and conflict resolution.  The JAMII YA KIBERA campaign will end with a Kibera-wide clean-up project, as well as a Carolina for Kibera sports event, which will bring together residents from all different ethnic groups.”

“CFK staff and campaign volunteers on the ground in Kibera have been working with local artists and community leaders for the past several weeks to develop a distinctly Kenyan campaign message in Swahili that will resonate with Kibera residents,” the blog continues. “The youth are very excited about the JAMII YA KIBERA logo because it gives them ownership of the Kibera community and of the peace campaign.  This is a message of peace by Kenyans, for Kenyans.”

Named a TIME Magazine and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “Hero of Global Health,” Carolina for Kibera envisions a world where the poor have a voice in their futures and opportunities for healthy growth.  The organization is rooted in the conviction that solutions to problems involving poverty are possible only if those affected by it drive development. Concerned outsiders can help by mobilizing communities, advising, networking, and providing resources. Ultimately, however, the community possesses the knowledge and motivation that are necessary to solve its own problems.

An inaugural award for lifetime achievement will also be presented to Dom Tomás Balduíno for his work in helping the poor of Brazil. For the past 50 years, Balduíno has been a voice for thousands of Brazil’s poorest people in their struggle for dignity and the protection of their basic human rights. Balduíno helped form and lead the Brazilian Pastoral Land Commission and the Indian Missionary Council. He is recognized throughout Latin America as one of the great but humble servant leaders in a peaceful struggle of the Landless Workers Movement to defend land rights of the workers and help provide for their families.

The Reflections of Hope Award was created by the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation to recognize those who find and, by their actions, exemplify hope in the midst of tragedy, respond selflessly and give of themselves to improve the lives of others.

The 2008 selection committee included the following:

  • Kim Henry, First Lady of Oklahoma, Honorary Chair
  • Prudence Bushnell, Chair, Selection Committee, former United States Ambassador, Retired
  • Linda P. Lambert, Founding Chair, Selection Committee, LASSO Corporation
  • Barbara K. Bodine, United States Ambassador, Retired
  • David L. Boren, President, University of Oklahoma
  • Molly Shi Boren, First Lady, University of Oklahoma
  • Oscar Castañeda, Vice President of Americas Program, Heifer International
  • Bill Citty, Chief, Oklahoma City Police Department
  • Helene D. Gayle, President,  CARE International
  • Jerome Holmes, United States Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, Foundation Board Trustee
  • Ed Kelley, Editor, The Oklahoman
  • Ken Levit, Executive Director, George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • George Moose, United States Ambassador, Retired
  • Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, Chairman, Sponsor Council, Sisters of Mercy Health Systems
  • Jane Vessels, Assistant Editor, National Geographic
  • Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Tickets to the dinner are $168 per person, tables are available for $2500, and either can be reserved by calling Toni Clopton at 405.235.3313. The Reflections of Hope Award is made possible through the generous support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was created to honor “those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever” by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The Memorial and Museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected 

For more information on the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, call 888.542.HOPE or visit For more information on Carolina for Kibera, please visit

To schedule an interview with Rye Barcott, founder of Carolina for Kibera, Inc., Executive Director Salim Mohamed from Kenya or Dom Tomás Balduíno during the time they are in Oklahoma City in April, contact Nancy Coggins at 405.235.3313.


High-resolution images of Carolina for Kibera can be downloaded from the following locations.

« Back to Press Releases | Archived Press Releases »


620 N. Harvey, Oklahoma City  |  405.235.3313 888.542.HOPE
©2011 Oklahoma City National Memorial