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.
Oct 8, 2013

Matching Day is Coming Up!!

Angie and Faith
Angie and Faith

We have exciting news - this Tuesday, October 8th, starting at 11pm CST throughout October 9th, GlobalGiving will match each donation made to Heshima Kenya!

Your support has already helped so many of our women and girls in Nairobi. Girls like Angie.

Angie’s story began in DR Congo where her grandmother raised her after her parents and brothers were killed when she was just 2 years old. In 2010, rebels raided her village again; they killed her grandmother and held Angie captive for two harrowing years. During this time, Angie became pregnant from assault and gave birth to her daughter, Faith.

One early morning in 2012, Angie managed to escape to Nairobi where she finally found Heshima Kenya. Angie lived in the Safe House for a year before she exited to live with other girls in the Girls’ Empowerment Program. She recently graduated her tailoring course and will be joining the Maisha Collective this fall.

Angie is becoming more and more confident each day as she achieves new milestones.  With your support, more young mothers like Angie are able to reach financial independence for themselves and their families.

Will you consider a donation this matching day to help our girls achieve their goals? There is a limited amount of matching funds available so please donate early to ensure Heshima Kenya benefits from this opportunity!

  We are so grateful for your generous contributions to help us engage, support, and encourage Angie, Faith, and so many more. Thank you for your support and commitment to empowering the young women and girls of Heshima Kenya, we couldn’t do it without you.  

Thank you Global Giving supporters!
Thank you Global Giving supporters!
Sep 12, 2013

Mireille Graduates

Mireille and her diploma
Mireille and her diploma

One very important aspect of our Girls’ Empowerment Project is the Vocational Training component. Once our young women demonstrate a commitment to the basic courses in the GEP, they are invited to join the training courses and attend each afternoon after completing their basic classes in the morning. In this seven-month tailoring course, participants gain skills in hand and machine stitching, measuring and cutting of fabrics, and sewing. Participants also learn a variety of stitch techniques like embroidery. In the latter two months before graduation, participants are enrolled to pre-production training where they learn advanced designs unique to the Maisha Collective. They also receive a small stipend to jumpstart their savings and transition into independence. These lessons have proven vital in teaching the girls valuable, marketable skills they can rely on for life, and help prepare them for the Maisha Collective, where they will earn an income and graduate to economic independence.

One of our recent graduates, Mireille, has worked very hard in her time at Heshima Kenya and is thrilled to have recently graduated from the tailoring program. Mireille is 21 years old and from Rwanda; her parents were killed during the genocide and a neighbor took her in.  The neighbor was elderly, and had a hard time caring for a child and the people who killed her parents began to look for her, so Mireille had to leave. She found another woman who was leaving Rwanda and joined her in the journey. Mireille finally ended up in Nairobi in 2007 and was fortunate enough to be enrolled in primary school – one day while she was at school, the neighbor left and Mireille was all by herself and homeless. Her neighbors allowed her to stay with them while she was in school. However, soon after she moved in, she was ordered to complete all of the chores and no longer had time to attend school. The husband of the household coerced her saying if she wanted to continue to live there, she must engage in a sexual relationship with him. Mireille refused, however the man raped her and she became pregnant. She consulted with other neighbors and decided to report the incident, at which point she was kicked out of the home.

She finally accessed the UNHCR who referred her to Heshima Kenya; she enrolled in the GEP and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Heshima Kenya was able to provide her with the life skills courses toterach her parenting skills, and child care so she was able to continue her schooling. She enrolled in the vocational training course, and graduated earlier this month. Mireille has also been registered for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education and is receiving tuition.

Mireille’s dreams of finishing her education, finding a job and becoming financially stable. It is very important to her to provide for her son and give him what she never got in life. Through the tailoring skills that she acquired, she believes she will become a designer. She looks forward to participating in the Maisha Collective and continuing to learn and add to her skills. We’re so proud of you, Mireille!

Your support helps girls like Mireille go further in life than they ever thought they could. Your investment is truly investment in the life of our young women and their families. We thank you very much for your thoughtful donations. 

Mirielle
Mirielle's classmates
Mireille and her friends
Mireille and her friends
Sep 6, 2013

This Summer at the Safe House

Malyun writing her evening daily journal
Malyun writing her evening daily journal

This summer, our Safe House residents had the opporuntity to participate in several programs to aid their healing and help them succeed in life: 

1.) Jounrnaling at the Safe House

Our Safe house residents have been working diligently on their writing skills as a method to assist with the healing process after experiencing trauma. They have become accustomed to writing personal stories in their journal each evening. After working hard, the majority of the girls report they are able to reflect and write out  what is going on in their minds, and express their hopes and future desires. The girls were excited to discuss their thoughts, plans, challenges, successes and goals in life. Jennifer, 16 years old from the Congo,  shared that she loves going to school. She wrote that she works hard in school so that she could attain the highest grade to be admitted into a University. Jennifer plans to become a  pilot; she dreams of flying airplanes all over the world. Writing has served as a great motivator to help girls look forward to brighter futures; helping the girls believe in their capabilities and set goals for their lives. Alsongside of the journal writing, Heshima Kenya staff provided a number of counseling sessions to uncover the tramas faced and ulimately work to improve their emotional well-being. The individual counsleing plans, coupled with the journal writing, has helped the residents reduce their levels of anxiety and fear.  The girls very much enjoy the writing exercises and appreciated thinking through and sharing their future goals. 


2.) Life skills Courses

Parenting can be very challenging for teenage mothers, especially for teenage mothers missing their own families who have undergone significant trauma, such as our girls at Heshima Kenya.  Simply understanding on how to take good care of a baby is an incredible task for all mothers. This past month, 10 life skills sessions were held to equip the young mothers with baby-care skills. At the course’s completion, 95% of the residents demonstrated  improvement in taking care of their babies. The Life Skills program has recorded less medical referrals this month and shown that residents have gained healthy eating habits. The residents were also taken through transformational breathing techniques facilitated by “TIBA Africa” as a method of stress and tension  relief . They were encouraged to continue with the breathing exercises at home and after the course’s completion to remain mentally healthy and strong. Adele, who is a survivor of sexual gender based violence (SGBV) also gave a session on “getting through trauma”. Five years ago, Adele was gang raped on her way home from the market; her perpretrators are unkown. She received counselling and proper care that to help her heal and work past the assualt the best she could. She shared her personal experience with residents and  encouraged them to seek help and support to aid their healing. Currently, Adele works as a radio presenter at a popular radio station in Nairobi.; she is also the  founder of an organization called NO Means NO which advocates for the rights of children and women. Adele serves as a strong, brave role model for our women and girls. 

Your support makes it possible for our Safe House residents to receive such specialized care, including the counseling and courses they need. Thank you again for your generosity. 

Janet writing her personal journal
Janet writing her personal journal
Marlene and Latu completing their assignments
Marlene and Latu completing their assignments
Safe house residents in a discussion group
Safe house residents in a discussion group
Residents listening to life skills presentations
Residents listening to life skills presentations

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