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.
Jun 9, 2015

Chantal's Transformation

Chantal smiling for a photo
Chantal smiling for a photo

Chantal is a 16-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was born with a physical disability that makes it difficult to walk. Her parents separated when she was very young and Chantal was sent to live with her elder sister, Momo. Her sister took good care of her, providing love and support, taking her to hospital whenever she needed medical attention. One night in 2013, as they were sleeping in their small thatched house, Chantal heard children screaming and women wailing. She peeped through a hole in the wall and was shocked to see militia men walking towards their door. Chantal was abducted by the militia men and taken to their camp where her days of abuse at their hands soon turned into months. In 2014, government soldiers finally came and destroyed the camp and a kind woman helped Chantal escape. After two weeks travelling by truck and already five months pregnant, Chantal arrived in Kenya where she gave birth in March 2015 to a bouncing baby girl. Due to her special needs as a disabled mother, Chantal was referred to the Safe House for care and protection.

When she arrived at the Safe House, Chantal was extremely sad and discouraged. She missed her sister and was extremely traumatized by the abuse she faced before leaving the Congo. She would not make eye contact with anyone, she could not understand Kiswahili, and she lay in bed mute much of the day. She was also unable to carry her new baby because of her disability. Recognizing her needs, our Case Management team quickly enrolled Chantal into counselling and life skills activities; fellow residents and program staff members jumped in to help support her with her baby. Slowly but surely, she started talking with the residents and speaking up in house meetings.

Now, just two months later, Chantal can smile, she can communicate in English, she dresses smartly, and she is happy. She is enrolled in a physiotherapy program with the Association of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya (APDK) where she is receiving walking training and a special shoe to help her walk. She is confident; attending Heshima Kenya education classes, and no longer needs support to carry her baby. She finds her life transformed through Heshima Kenya and she hopes that one day she will get a good job so that she can provide for her growing daughter, whom she named Blessings.

Chantal says “I want to be a counsellor so that I can assist children in the community to deal with their predicaments well.” She loves to smile and she is full of life, despite all she has been through.

 Thank you for your support. By donating to our Safe House, you make recovery stories like Chantal’s a real possibility. Your generosity is changing lives every day and we thank you.

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May 6, 2015

Spring Clothing Donation Drive is here!

Claire at GEP class with classmates
Claire at GEP class with classmates

The participants of the Girls Empowerment Project need your support. For the month of May Heshima Kenya is asking for contributions to help our GEP participants by providing them clothing and shoes. Your donation can provide for girls like Claire. 

Claire, a 15 year old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo who fled Congo as a child. During her departure, she lost her mother, two sisters and a brother. With the support of community members Claire and her remaining sister fled to the Congo-Rwanda boarder and were later brought to Nairobi by a family friend. While in route to Nairobi, Claire and her sister met a Congolese man who brought them to a Congolese church. The Pastor of the church took them in, and later a church community member volunteered to support Claire and her sister, provide them housing, and food.

Adeline, one of Heshima Kenya’s participant encouraged Claire to visit Heshima Kenya. Claire joined the Girls Empowerment Project and is learning English and Swahili as well as basic math skills. But Claire still needs support for basic necessitates such as clothing and shoes. This May, with your support, we can raise funds to provide Claire and other GEP girls new clothing and shoes. 

Thanks to supporters like you, Claire can have dreams of a better world for herself through education and skill. We thank you for your generous contribution

Mar 11, 2015

A Home and New Hope

Aziza, a 15-year-old mother from Ethiopia, came to our Safe House in 2012. She was separated from her parents after her father was taken by the police and her mother disappeared, leaving her in the care of a community member. Aziza was then sent to Kenya and placed in the care of a man who forced her into marriage, resulting in her pregnancy.

After going to the hospital to give birth, Aziza told a social worker about her predicament and was put in touch with Heshima Kenya. When Aziza first entered the Safe House, she was very vulnerable.  She was constantly fearful, while also dealing with the challenges of becoming a new, young mother. Through the support of Heshima Kenya staff, she received individual counselling sessions from the program staff, and was referred to Center for Victims of Torture, a partner organization, to help her deal with trauma. With the help of Safe House staff, she learned how to properly care for her newborn baby.                                                

Currently, Aziza lives in the Safe House with her daughter and has a very positive attitude about herself and her futute. She is registered as an asylum seeker with UNHCR, and possesses self-confidence, and a growing self-esteem. Aziza has learned to take care of herself and baby. She enjoys cooking and playing football and her daughter has grown into a healthy toddler.

 Aziza talks of the future and her dream of becoming a teacher. She also hopes to sensitize the communities to protect girls from early marriage. She says:

 “I was married off at the age of 13 years to an old man who did not care about me at all. I was hidden from everyone. I had no official identification papers to use when seeking services. I will work hard to ensure that I protect my daughter from early marriage. I really feel so safe now”.

 

Thanks to supporters like you, Aziza can have a safe place to call home and dreams of a better world for her child.We thank you for your generous contribution. 

 
   

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