Irene looks forward to exams next month!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela.
Heshima Kenya strongly believes in the power of education, and continues to provide opportunities to many vulnerable refugees, like Irene. Irene is a young and energetic girl who is determined to fulfill her dreams of becoming a journalist, so she can fight for justice including equal treatment, fairness and peace for all. Being a journalist has been her dream and aspiration ever since she was young.
Just this past spring, at 16 years old, Irene fled from her country of Burundi due to political conflicts that resulted in the loss of her parents. She escaped the fighting and met another refugee in Rwanda who offered to take her to Nairobi, Kenya. After a long journey, Irene arrived at the UNHCR in Nairobi, where she was referred to Heshima Kenya. She was immediately given a safe place to live in our Safe House; she also received food, medication, transportation, counseling and medical services. This summer, Irene enrolled in our education services, where she began her basic literacy education. She plans to continue through the primary levels in order to pass the exams and enroll in high school; she plans to eventually attend college where she can study to become a journalist. Reflecting on her time at Heshima Kenya so far, Irene says, “I feel good about my education, I believe that I will move forward in my higher level of education.”
In a few short months, Irene has been able to advance in reading and writing in English, which was initially one of her biggest challenges. “My English has really improved ever since I joined Heshima Kenya, I have been able to read and understand the meanings of different words in English,” she says.
Today, Irene loves reading English storybooks and the Bible as part of her hobbies. She is now able to participate in class, compared to her first day at Heshima when she was still traumatized and afraid because of her past. She feels safe and happy; she attends school every day and has made many friends in school and at the safe house.
Irene will be sitting for her final examinations for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) in November 2016, passing this exam is required to enter High School. She says that Heshima Kenya has helped her with many things; “Heshima Kenya has offered me education, food, shelter, medication, transport and mostly a place I can call home because I find hope for my future through the support Heshima Kenya has offered me. Heshima has started the family tracing process for my two sisters who are still missing after the political fights and am hopeful they will be traced so that we can reunite,” she says.
“I feel like I have found a family in Heshima Kenya since I lost my parents, I have also found people who sympathize and empathize with me despite them being from different backgrounds and this makes me feel better and I have hope in life,” she says.
Thanks to supporters like you, girls like Irene are able to find hope and strive to acheive their dreams everyday. We thank you for your support.
Irene in class
Zumba class at the GEP