Heshima Kenya

Heshima Kenya is a 501(c)(3) US nonprofit and registered Kenyan charity based in Nairobi, Kenya. Heshima is the Swahili word for "respect" and we specialize in identifying and protecting separated and orphaned refugee children and youth living in Nairobi. Our innovative shelter, education and community outreach services enable and empower unaccompanied refugee children, especially adolescent girls, to live healthy lives.
Dec 11, 2014

Finding Safety at Last: Sumaya's Story

Sumaya, 13 year old Ethiopian girl.
Sumaya, 13 year old Ethiopian girl.

Sumaya is a 13 year-old Ethiopian girl, who resides in the Safe House with along with her five siblings. Sumaya was born in Ethiopia but later moved with her family to Djibouti because of war. While in Djibouti, her father was abducted and never seen again. After her father’s disappearance, the family experienced a good deal insecurity, forcing them to flee Djibouti. While fleeing towards Kenya, Sumaya’s mother also disappeared. However, determined to seek safety, Sumaya and her siblings continued on their journey. Once they arrived in Nairobi, a community member offered the children a place to stay. While their shelter was temporarily taken care of, Sumaya and her siblings still needed an income for food, and other necessities, forcing her and her 16-year-old sister to find odd jobs, such as selling tea to community members. While working in the community, the UNHCR identified Sumaya and her siblings as unaccompanied children at risk and referred them to the Safe House. 

When Sumaya first entered the Safe House, she was very withdrawn and lethargic, sleeping throughout the day. She would express feelings of loss for her parents and did not participate in activities in the community. At first, she did not want to be enrolled in the education program and hoped to have a limited stay in the Safe House. However as days passed, Sumaya accepted the security of the Safe House, realizing this might be the safe place she had been seeking for her siblings. Through individual and group counseling provided by the program staff, Sumaya‘s attitude and feelings have gradually shifted; she is now more relaxed, volunteers to participate in life-skills activities, and is fully engaged in artistic activities. Sumaya continues to overcome her past fears and is working everyday to build her self-confidence. She was enrolled in our education program, and continues to thrive in her classes. She also participates actively in life skills programs, assisting in facilitating sessions for young children and enjoys reciting poems.

Sumaya says “I am happy being in the Safe House with all my siblings. At first it was hard but now am coping well. I have made friends. I am confident, I love to dance and recite poems.” Despite all the hardships Sumaya has been through, she is positive that one day she will be reunited with her mother. Her dream is to become a child psychologist.

Thank you again for your support and commitment to Heshima Kenya. Your generous donation makes it possible for young girls, like Sumaya to begin to lead safe and enjoyable lives

Sumaya
Sumaya
Sumaya at the Safe House
Sumaya at the Safe House
Sumaya reciting a poem during 16 days of activism.
Sumaya reciting a poem during 16 days of activism.
Dec 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday is here!

Heshima girls performing together.
Heshima girls performing together.

 Dear Supporters,

Since 2012, Giving Tuesday has been providing donors like you an opportunity to show support and jumpstart the giving season. It is a growing global movement to celebrate generosity and give to organizations to multiply their impact. With the holidays upon us, we can share in our thanksgiving through sustaining organizations that invest in the future, like Heshima Kenya.

How can you get involved? This Giving Tuesday, consider donating to one of Heshima Kenya’s programs that supports the most vulnerable of our global society, unaccompanied refugee girls and women. Share why you chose Heshima Kenya using #GivingTuesday and #Unselfie on social media.

Thanks to your continued support, Heshima Kenya has already been able to provide protection, education, and opportunity to nearly 650 refugee women and their children. We were able to safeguard the human rights of girls and young women who have experienced, and are at continued risk of homelessness, gender-based violence, and other protection issues. Since 2008, nearly 500 girls, young women and their children, were provided with safe shelter in a unique environment where they began to regain their physical and mental health, built important life values, created a network of peer support, and built self -sustaining skills through life-skills training and support through Heshima Kenya’s other programs. But we have a lot more work to do and that’s where you come in. Thank you for supporting refugee girls and women; thank you for your continued support of Heshima Kenya.

Thank you from all of us at Heshima Kenya
Thank you from all of us at Heshima Kenya
Oct 14, 2014

Re-writing the Future

Chantal and James
Chantal and James

Chantal, 17-years-old, is a student at Heshima Kenya’s Girls’ Empowerment Project. Looking at her confident and determined smile, one would never guess the hardships she experienced as a young girl fleeing from the war torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Chantal was referred to Heshima Kenya by our partner agency, HIAS Kenya, in 2012. After fleeing from violence in her home country in 2010, she was captured by rebels and held in a forest; she became pregnant as a result of abuse she suffered there. After escaping and being referred to Heshima Kenya, she was placed in the Safe House where she received psychosocial support and was also enrolled into the GEP program. Heshima Kenya covered her maternity and delivery expenses, ensuring Chantal delivered a healthy bouncing baby boy she named James.

Upon enrollment into the Girls’ Empowerment Project, Chantal was assessed and placed in Level 1 of the program. At the time Chantal could not communicate in either English or Kiswahili. She attended classes to improve her language skills and six months later she emerged as one of the top performers in the adult education proficiency test administered by the Government of Kenya. In Level 2, Chantal was a top student and took on a leadership role in her class; she also enrolled in the vocational training where she received tailoring skills. At the completion of the second level, Chantal entered Level 3 and was registered for the national Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Exams, which she will take this November. Passing the exams is necessary for admittance to secondary school. In addition to completing her classes, Chantal received a certification as a skilled tailor. She is now a member of the Maisha Collective (our income generating project), the final component of the Girls’ Empowerment Project. In the Maisha Collective, she earns a stipend that helps pay rent and allows Chantal to live independently with her son.

Chantal’s son also receives support from Heshima Kenya. He is enrolled in the Heshima Kenya’s Early Childhood Development Program, which provides daycare and parenting classes. This allows Chantal the ability to focus on her education and involvement in the Maisha Collective. James learns numbers and shapes in the program, and his social interaction and ability to communicate with his peers, teachers and other adults are constantly improving.

Chantal plans to continue with her education through college, and plans to educate her child. She is extremely thankful for her education and for the counseling she has received that has helped her deal with her traumatic past and has allowed her to focus on her future. Chantal has big dreams for herself and her child for the future, she states “I would like to rewrite my life and the future.”

Thanks to supporters like you, Chantal is able to receive the support and education she deserves, investing in herself and in the future of her family. We thank you!

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor is matching all new monthly recurring donations. Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $17
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $60
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $350
    give
  • $17
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $60
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $350
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Heshima Kenya

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Heshima Kenya on GreatNonProfits.org.