In the heart of Nairobi, lies Kibera. To some, it is just the biggest slum in East Africa, a place full of low-income earners, garbage and everything else that pertains to your regular kind of ghetto. But to select visionaries like Mikael Lindqvist and his Kitunguu Family, this is also a den of possibilities filled with enormous potential and strength that is yet to be tapped.

Kitunguu Family is working towards opening a hub in Kibera Nairobi that is going to be a centre for personal development and discovery. ‘Kitunguu’ is a Swahili word for onion. The word is meant to portray that the Kitunguu Hub will be a space where you can unpeel all layers and discover the emptiness in you (quite deep, right?). The name is also inspired by the ‘Onion Collective‘ which is a joint in Bali with a similar vibe to what Mikael wants to achieve.

Why Kibera? Mikael has spent the last couple of years based in Kibera and he has fallen in love with the place. ‘I love Kibera and I always feel at home there’, he says. ‘I think there is a need for a place where you can ‘unpeel’ and be yourself without anyone telling you what to do’, he continues. The conviction in his words is crystal clear and I have to agree with him. Everyone comes in with ideas of who and what you should be (especially in a place like Kibera) and in the end, we end up mass producing clones of ourselves. There is an urgent need for a place that strips you down to the core of who you are and then provides the right vibe for that person within to grow.

Mikael has big dreams about this plan and he hopes to eventually establish a swimming pool, restaurant, co-working space, concert stage among others. He envisions the hub becoming a creative and cultural centre where both local and global creatives can share their skills. Kibera is a place that is super rich in culture and graffiti is one of them. A while ago some of the graffiti walls were brought down and Mikael feels that Kitunguu Family will help in filling the culture void but also help to enrich the community in diverse ways

The Kitunguu hub will be the centre of self-discovery, community culture, social events and concerts, activities focused on personal growth among others. Led by the talented Mikael Lindqvist who has developed a great love for the Kibera culture, Kitunguu family is set to achieve greatness. Mikael is also a great saxophone player (I’ve actually listened to him play a couple of times)

Currently, the Kitunguu Family team members are participating in the Startup Weekend Bali, kindly check out Startup Weekend Bali on Facebook and follow Kitunguu Family’s journey. We’re wishing them all the best and we can’t wait for them to get back here in Kibera and make some needed change.

Check out Kitunguu Family‘s website for more details.

Originally published on Decode

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