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.
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. 

Mar 3, 2015

Make it Happen! Divine's Story of Success

Divine (left) and a fellow member
Divine (left) and a fellow member

In an effort to increase the participant’s self-esteem and practice life skills, the Girls Empowerment Project staff and students recently created an elected Student Council. Members of the council were elected through a democratic process and were selected to represent the four countries, which participants originate- Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and Congo. GEP students voted for candidates based on their confidence, achievements in class and critical thinking skills. The Student Council serves as a space where members can feel empowered to participate in the decision making process and functioning of the GEP. Members explore questions regarding the educational process, layout and structure of classes, how they may improve the courses for students, and address any issues that may arise.

Divine came to Heshima Kenya in 2012, she was pregnant and alone after losing her parents to the Rwandan genocide. After fleeing war in Rwanda, Divine and her sister migrated to the DRC – sadly, Divine and her sister were separated and her host parent passed away, prompting Divine to leave for Nairobi. Upon entering Nairobi, Divine was exploited and experienced assault. Finally, a community member referred her to UNHCR, and she was brought to Heshima Kenya.

At Heshima Kenya, she received psychological care for her trauma and was soon enrolled in the Girls’ Empowerment Project, where she began her education. Divine worked hard and excelled in school, quickly progressing and enrolling in our tailoring program. She is currently enrolled in the Maisha Collective, where she is earning an income to support herself and her baby boy. Divine now serves as a positive role model for all of our GEP girls, offering support and kind words. She leads by example, showing the young women they can achieve anything and that they have each other’s support in succeeding. Divine was recently elected to the Student Council, where she has been proudly serving and representing her fellow students. Currently, Divine and the other members are working on creating a fund for the women who need emergency funds, or need loans to start their own businesses.

Divine continues to serve as a leader in education; she recently registered for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Exams (KCSE), the formal test offered by the Kenya Ministry of Education that is required to graduate from high school. Divine is very focused and determined to continue with her education to university level. During an interview, Divine stated: “No matter the terrible circumstances that one goes through in life, just sitting down and jotting down your dream and Making It Happen is the biggest achievement in life. I know that 4 years to come I will be able to complete my University education and get a good job. I want to educate my child and see him reap in future”.

Divine is thrilled with her success and is looking forward to leading and supporting her fellow classmates. Thank you for helping Heshima Kenya. By helping us, we are able to support Divine, her child and many other girls who have similar stories to re-write their future and Make it Happen.

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