A YouTube star goes to Kibera and uncovers a bunch of creative minds changing the future.
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Gates Foundation

Jamal Edwards MBE picked up a camera at 15 and started filming. A few years later, he'd built one of the most successful YouTube channels EVER.

Hi, Jamal. Image via Jamal Edwards.


There's a reason he's considered one of the United Kingdom's most successful young entrepreneurs! He even got to interview Prime Minister David Cameron.

Today, his channel and broadcasting company SBTV highlights underground music artists and is expanding into other content. It's said to have even helped launch the career of radio favorite Ed Sheeran. #Swoon.

Recently, Jamal put his camera in a much different light.

He packed his bags and headed to Nairobi, Kenya, with Action/2015 to talk to some of the creative young people who live there in the slum of Kibera.

I tell you what: They know what's up.

GIFs via action/2015.

Kibera is considered one of the largest slums in the world. Many residents live on less than a few bucks a day. A lot of kids who live there can't afford to go to school or even see a doctor.

You'd think the opportunities in a place like Kibera would be pretty grim, but when you see it — really see it through the eyes of Jamal — it looks a little more hopeful.

They are young people doing what they can to change Kibera. And Jamal helped to document them.

There are young people in Kibera who have founded dance schools with libraries and study rooms.

Dance AND learning! A great combo.

Others are using drama and performance to raise awareness of the issues they face.

Bring on the drama, bring on the change.

They are finding creative ways to break through the barriers that have stopped so many before them. They're paving their own futures — some as young as sixth grade!

These young people know what it's going to take for them to succeed, and they're calling on world leaders to help make it happen.

They've got good timing, too.

World leaders are coming together this year to announce a new set of Global Goals to tackle the most urgent issues of our time: poverty, inequality, and climate change.

Action/2015 is right there to make sure it happens. It's made up of 2,020 organizations around the world — joined by Jamal, Kibera youth, and, hopefully, you.

Because turning words like this around is actually possible: "The problem in Kibera is school dropout. Most girls do get pregnant and drop out from school."

But change has to happen first.

One successful YouTube star isn't going to change the course of history. But all of us together can. Here's how you can take action with Action/2015 and how some of Kibera's young people are doing their part:

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia is poised to become the 23rd U.S. state—and first state in the South—to ban the death penalty after lawmakers on Monday approved legislation prohibiting the practice.

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Both chambers of the General Assembly passed earlier versions already this month. On Monday, the Senate passed the House bill in a 22-16 vote; the House then voted 57-43 on the measure to ban capital punishment. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has indicated his support for the measure.

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Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Sumo Citrus
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Don Bay has been in the citrus business for over 50 years now, and according to him, his most recent growing endeavor has been the most challenging. Alongside his son Darren and grandson Luke, Don cultivates Sumo Citrus®, one of the most difficult fruits to grow. The Bay family runs San Joaquin Growers Ranch in Porterville, California, one of the farms where the fruit is grown in the United States.

Sumo Citrus was originally developed in Japan, and is an extraordinary hybrid of mandarin, pomelo and navel oranges.

The fruit is temperamental, and it can take time to get a thriving crop. The trees require year-round care, and it takes five years from seed to fruit until they're ready for harvest. Thanks to expert citrus growers like the Bay family though, Sumo Citrus have flourished in California. Don and his son Darren worked together through trial and error to perfect their crop of Sumo Citrus. Darren is now an expert on cultivating this famously temperamental fruit, and his son Luke is learning from him every step of the way.

Don, Darren and Luke BayAll photos courtesy of Sumo Citrus

"Luke's been involved as early as he could come out," Darren said in a YouTube video.

"Having both my son and grandson [working with me] is basically what I've dreamt about," said Don. "To have been able to develop this orchard and have them work on it and work with me — then I don't have to do all the work."

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Just over a month after passing the grim milestone of 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, the United States has surpassed another one. As of today, more than half a million Americans have been lost to the virus that's held the world in a pandemic holding pattern for almost a year. It's a number that seemed unfathomable even six months ago, and yet here we are.

Despite increasing vaccine rollouts allowing us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the loss we've experienced is immense. Having a president who not only understands loss on a personal level—having endured the tragic loss of his wife and baby daughter earlier in life and the death of his son just six years ago—but who conveys with compassion the grief of the nation as we mark this milestone is a comforting change.

Tonight, the White House honored the 500,000+ lives lost with a display of 500 candles lining the steps of the building, with each candle representing 1000 Americans. The president and first lady, along with the vice president and second gentleman, held a memorial moment of silence outside the South Portico as a military band played "Amazing Grace."

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