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When Sumaya first entered the Safe House, she was very withdrawn and lethargic, sleeping throughout the day.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
Marie is a 16-year-old girl who fled the Congo during conflicts in her village. Early in 2013, rebels attacked the village and took away her parents, leaving Marie alone in the house. She was terrified, but she managed to hide from the rebels by sliding under the bed. After she deemed it safe to come out, she met some women who were also seeking safety, and they found a truck carrying people from the village. With no other options, Marie joined the women and children in the truck. She immediately fell asleep from exhaustion and shock. When a man’s shouting awoke her abruptly, she found herself in a different country, forced out of the truck and completely on her own. After struggling to survive by herself in Kenya, she was rescued and taken in by a host family. From there, she was ultimately identified and assisted by UNHCR. As she was unable to continue staying with the family, she was referred to Heshima Kenya for shelter.
Marie is currently enjoying her stay at the Heshima Kenya Safe House, where she has built friendships with other residents and is obtaining basic education and counseling. Aside from providing a secure, warm environment for our girls to heal, our Safe House also recognizes the importance that games and recreational activities play. The Safe House residents spend time playing games every evening, including board games, puzzles, tower building games, ball games and activities like “Zumba dance.” This helps the children to identify new skills, learn how to solve problems, improve their attitude toward their peers, develop motivation for life tasks such as learning, exercise creativity, express feelings and needs, and formulate their daily requests and demands. It is observed that the residents who participate in games build their self-esteem easily, develop self-confidence, and gain a sense of self-identity and conflict resolution skills.
Marie loves playing games at the Safe House; it helps her relax with her peers and enjoy her life. She has learned to interact and build meaningful relationships with fellow residents and community members. Ultimately, Marie feels that she has found another family in Heshima Kenya. These activities and games have allowed her to be a child again, enjoy her free time and maintain a positive outlook. Her goal is to continue her education and find a job as a youth counselor, so she can help other young women like her.
“Throughout my life I never owned any toys to play with. My parents could not afford to buy games. I had problems with learning new things especially games because I did not have access to them. When I came to the Safe House, I was surprised to see all the toys and games that I yearned to have when I was growing up. You can have whatever game you want and most of the times we use them as we conduct group discussions to break the ice. I love doing the hula hoop because I exercise my body, I laugh a lot and we share life experiences with my friends a lot too. I love to play and learn different games a lot,” says Marie.
Support from you helps our girls, like Marie, to experience safety, security and to play and make friends like all children should. We thank you for your support!
Nyamuhure has seen much trauma in her life. She was captured by rebels in her home country, the Congo, and held captive for 12 months, during which time she became pregnant due to assault. The same rebels killed her parents and siblings when attacking her village.
After finally fleeing to Kenya, she found a generous individual who offered her assistance and then referred her to Heshima Kenya for further care and supporrt. Nyamuhure came to the Safe House in September 2013. During her stay, she received counseling and attended life-skills sessions, which enabled her regain psychological stability and prepared her for the delivery and care of her new baby. Through courses and living in a supportive community, Nyamuhure gained confidence; initially shy and introverted, she soon began taking on leadership responsibilities within the Safe House, assiting as a resident mentor for any emerging issues with the residents. This has helped her grow her courage and self-esteem and today she reaches out to the young children who reside in the community, organizing games and events to build skills among the children.
With financial assistance and medical support from Heshima Kenya, Nyahumure gave birth to a health baby boy, Cleva, in November 2013. Nyamuhure and Cleva exited the Safe House in May and she now lives with a guardian in the community. Nyamuhure reports that being in the Safe House nourished her confidence and prompted her to believe that her dream of becoming a confident, educated and independent young woman can actually be a reality despite her misfortunes. She hopes to become a counselor so that she can help other young women in her community. She plans to give the best care possible to her son so he grows up to become a healthy, condfident child.
Your thoughtful support helps young women like Nyamuhure to become leaders– we thank you for investing in our young women!
Habiba Hamdi is a 17-year-old young Somali refugee mother. She was born in the Dadaab refugee camp, a camp that hosts many refugees fleeing the Somali civil war.When she was just nine years old, her father went to fetch firewood for the family and was killed by hostile Somali tribesmen. Though devastated by this loss, Habiba, her mother and two siblings were able to continue their lives with a great amount of support from each other. However, one day tragedy struck again when Habiba was sexually assaulted by a young man while on her way to school.
Due to shame, she tried to hide the incident from her family and friends, however she realized 5 months later that she was pregnant. Once her mother realized Habiba was pregnant, she forced her to leave the only home she had ever known. Furthermore, the perpetrator threatened to kill her if she disclosed his identity. Habiba’s world felt apart, she was devastated and alone; her personal identity was deeply shaken. Habiba received help from well-wishers who lived near the camp, though her mother and tribesmen rejected her. After she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Annan Abdi, she received a referral to our Safe House where she was sure she and her daughter would be cared for and protected.
When Habiba first entered the Safe House, she was terribly depressed, blaming herself for her mother’s anger regarding her pregnancy. Through the support, hard work and care of the staff and counselors, young Habiba came to terms with the circumstances under which she became pregnant and realized that she could not continue to carry the burden of her clansmen’s’ rejection any longer. She bravely learned to forgive her mother and committed herself to taking good care of her baby and to exceling in her education and improving her personal life. The strength and resolve Habiba acquired over the next six months opened doors to incredible opportunities. She is now rated one of the best students in her class and, remembering her firm commitment to excel in all areas of her life, she strives to be a better person each and every day. She has overcome her past fears and moved beyond self-doubt. She is now working on her exit plan with all the skills and support she acquired from Heshima Kenya. With the income-generating opportunities offered by Heshima Kenya’s programming she is working toward an independent and self-sufficient life for she and Annan. Even with all the challenges that life threw her way, Habiba is living her dream! She enjoys living in a safe community that provides education and exemplary care for her 1-year-old daughter.
Thank you to our supporters like you who enable us to provide a safe home for Habiba and Annan! Your generous contributions helps to ensure that we are able to not only meet their basic needs, but also to encourage them to work hard and dream.
Dear Supporter -
2013 was such a wonderful year for us at Heshima Kenya. Because of your support, 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. Nearly 100 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. Please follow the link to let our girls thank you themselves!
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