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Yoga lessons come to Nairobi’s biggest slum

In a sprawling slum such as Kibera in Nairobi, the last thing one would expect to encounter is the practice of Yoga.

In Kibera, one of the biggest slums in the world which is infamous for crime and other social ills, other more ‘meaningful’ activities for making a livelihood usually take precedence over recreational ventures, leave alone Yoga.

Yet, as millions around the world marked the World Yoga Day on Tuesday, not to be left behind was a small group of students from Kibera slums.

Africa Yoga Project, a none-profit-organisation, is the brainchild of two American Yoga instructors, Paige Elenson and Baron Baptiste.

In 2007 when they established the organisation, their goal was to create employment opportunities and empower the youth in impoverished areas of Nairobi.


For a start, the two raised Sh1million ($10,000) to found the organisation and trained 40 Kenyan yoga instructors. Today, 72 instructors are working in poor areas of the city, including in schools and prisons.

According to the locals the two Americans have brought positive change to Kibera.

“Before they came here, I used to steal to make ends meet because entertaining people through acrobatics was not paying enough,” said Margaret Njeri, who is now a Yoga instructor.

Ms Njeri now earns atleast Sh10,000 every month for five Yoga classes she conducts every week in prisons, schools and other parts of the city.

Another area resident, Samson Muhalia, 53, admits that Yoga has an impact on people because it brings them together.

“What I really like about yoga is that it brings people together and teaches them how live together. It makes people share and discuss,” he told Nairobi News.