Fartun and her daughter at the Safe House
Fartun was born in the Dadaab refugee camp, a large refugee camp bordering Somalia and Kenya. Life in the refugee camps can be very challenging, including security risks and threats. Unfortunately, one day when Fartun was only 15 years old she was at a neighbor’s home, when an older male living there drugged and sexually assaulted her, resulting in pregnancy. Sexual assault causes much shame in many cultures, including Fartun’s, so after discovering what happened her family disowned her, taking her to the UNHCR for services. Knowing she was unsafe in the camp, without the protection of her family and her attacker still free, Fartun left the camp with a refugee woman traveling to Nairobi.
Once in Nairobi, Fartun was referred to Heshima Kenya’s Safe House, where she was provided with food, medication, transportation, counseling and prenatal care. Fartun also received counseling to help her cope with the trauma. Finally, she was enrolled in the Girls’ Empowerment Project, where she was able to continue her education. Once she gave birth to a healthy daughter, she was also able enroll in childcare courses to learn how to care for her baby. Fartun was beginning to heal, but was still very worried about her future as a young mother with no family or resources. Still, she worked very hard in school and to care for her baby.
Now, just 2 years later, Fartun is a bright young woman with ambitious dreams. She joined our income-generating program, the Maisha collective, enabling her to earn her own income to support herself and her daughter. She is now able to pay rent and financially support her daughter. While Fartun is working, her daughter is cared for in Heshima Kenya’s ECD (Early Childhood Center), within the GEP.
Fartun dreams of becoming a journalist one day. She loves watching and listening to the news and wishes to one day report events like the journalists she sees on television. Furthermore, she hopes to be able to provide a good life for her daughter and hopes that her daughter is able to have a good education.
Prior to joining Heshima Kenya, Fartun felt abandoned, neglected and hopeless. However, the care and support she found at Heshima Kenya helped her to grow and feel safe and secure. She felt safe enough to focus on her education, and care for her baby. This allowed her to learn tailoring skills and eventually begin to earn her own income, a dream that seemed impossible just a few short years ago. Fartun is very thankful for the support she has received and the friends she has made through Heshima Kenya.
Fartun says “I am glad that Heshima Kenya cares for my child and we know that there is a place for us, a place of safety. Maisha is helping me take care of my baby and when she needs something, I’m able to do it for her as I can provide for her instead of having to ask it from somebody or somewhere else. I feel so grown up when I provide for my child.”
It is because of supporters like you that young women like Fartun are able to feel safe and secure, and are able to receive and education, thriving as young women with ambitious dreams. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all you have done.
Fartun at work at the Maisha Collective
Fartun and her daughter on their way to the GEP