With your investment in our Safe House program, Heshima Kenya was able to provide safe shelter and protection to 70 young women, girls, and their children throughout 2010. Rather than remaining homeless or living in abusive situations where they are isolated from support, our Safe House is helping to meet their incredible emotional and protection needs and linking them to educational and income-generation opportunities through our other programs. We are very excited to report that in December we also moved our Safe House to a larger space where we now have the capacity to shelter more girls and young women. The new site allows space for studying, gardening, and engaging in recreational activities. Our most recent arrival is Sara, a 14-year-old Congolese girl who is 7 months pregnant. Sara and her 11 year old brother managed to flee Congo after her parents and sister were killed. On the way, Sara was raped. A business women from Kenya provided shelter once they reached Nairobi, but after finding out Sara was pregnant, the woman kicked her out of her home. In the process of reaching out to other people for help, Sara lost her brother. An organization referred Sara to Heshima Kenya’s Safe House where she is now regaining her health and preparing for the arrival of her baby. The other girls, especially those with babies of their own, are helping Sara feel comfortable and safe. Most importantly, they reassuring her that everything is going to be okay. Every day, we meet girls and young women who share stories similar to Saras. In December 2010 alone, 8,000 Somali refugees fled to Kenya, and even more are being displaced to Nairobi from Congo. Rather than having these girls and women remain invisible, your life-saving support is helping them receive the protection and tools to rebuild their lives. Thank you so much for your incredible support and investing in such a critical program!
We are excited to report that since August, four young women have successfully transitioned out of our Safe House Program into independent living situations. These young mothers, who are members of the Maisha Collective and do not face personal and targeted issues of insecurity, started earning a salary and wanted to try to live independently in community. Their successful relocation has encouraged other residents to start thinking of our Safe House Program as a more temporary situation in their journeys.
Many of the girls have suffered trauma, arrive with newborns, and are continuously adjusting to their new situations. Heshima Kenya staff continue to monitor and evaluate our programs to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for all Safe House residents. Some new arrivals include 13-year-old Amina from Somalia, and 17-year-old Hope from Sudan. Amina is a new mother who was attacked when she fled Somalia to Kenya. Hope was kidnapped in Sudan and escaped the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda to Kakuma Camp. She fled to Nairobi to escape a forced marriage and is now living in our Safe House Program.
We would like to say that these situations are unusual, but we all know they are not. Heshima Kenya’s Safe House is recognized as the safest shelter in Nairobi for refugee girls. There is a waiting list for entry and these urgent referrals come often. Our success, though welcome, has strained our resources and limited the number of girls and young women we can serve.
That is why we need your help. It costs $500 a month and $16 a day to keep a girl in our Safe House, which includes 24-hour counselors, social workers, therapists, security guards, and medical care. All of the young women in our program have displayed progress, courage and strength in the last few months, thanks to your continued support.
Help us make more girls safe. Please make a gift today!
This month we have housed 37 residents in our safe house, including 23 young women and 14 children. We still need your support to keep providing a secure and peaceful place for our young women and their children. Two months ago, we reached our capacity and now there is a waiting list.
A recent arrival is Faith, who is 17 years old and lost her parents during the war in Sudan, when she was young. For several years, she bounced around to different protection units in the refugee camps. In the last year, when Faith received continuous threats of forced marriage from men in the camps, she decided to sell all of her belongings and came to Nairobi. Faith was supported by Heshima Kenya after living with a Sudanese-Rwandese family for
couple months. Now that she has a safe and stable place to live she is actively engaging in our other education and case management programs.
For these young women, our safe house is a peaceful and safe space where they can dream and rebuild their lives. By donating to the Safe House Project, you are not just providing for their basic needs - shelter and
food; you are giving them the security that has been taken away from them.
Thank you for your continued support!
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