Local Hero Augustine Githaiga (aka Augusto) is qualified to work as a businessman in Nairobi, but this Local Hero chooses instead to mentor, educate and care for children living in Kawangware, a slum in the western part of Nairobi where he grew up. As a young boy, Augusto peddled illegal alcohol his mother made in exchange for her allowing him to attend school. When the money ran out, he left home and fought to stay in school—often at the expense of eating.
Today, Augusto is preventing children in Kawangware from having to make same tough decisions that he faced as a child. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Kawangware Vision Center (KVC), an organization that provides children with basic needs and empowers marginalized youth with skills training and income-generating youth-led projects. Youth are taught business skills so when they start their own businesses, the ultimate goal, they will know how to manage them efficiently. One example is the micro-business that Augusto spearheads, using recycled materials to make eco-friendly paper products that are sold to hotels and tour companies. The profits from this sustainable small business help run KVC.
A beacon of hope for over 300 at-risk youth living in the slum, KVC's driving philosophy of "Together forever, divided we fall!" has taught business skills to 221 youth with their eco-friendly brick making initiative and paper bag making micro-business. In addition to providing basic needs to the children, Agusto has helped unify the greater community through peace-building and reconciliation workshops following the 2008 riots.