Education and Empowerment for Refugee Girls

by Heshima Kenya
Mar 7, 2011

Strengthening Voices: HIV and AIDS Training

The Girl
The Girl's Empowerment Project

Dear Supporters,

A lot has been going on with our Girl's Empowerment Project – it has been growing in strength with 45 girls and young women being empowered to further their education and become leaders. Just this last month, students participated in Life Skills training on HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination. A visiting HIV/AIDS Officer from the organization, GIZ, led the class with background information about HIV/AIDS figures and statistics, the impact of the disease, HIV prevention, stigma and discrimination.

This topic really captured the girls and women’s imagination and they brainstormed questions to ask the visiting program officer and spoke from their own knowledge and experience of HIV and AIDS. The girls and women were so captivated by the discussion and the issue that they did not take a break from the class but kept learning and discussing from morning until lunch time.

‘I was so happy to see the students so active and asking questions and answering, unlike previous classes they would shy away from certain areas,’ says Fatuma Abdullahi, the Girls’ Empowerment Project Youth Coordinator, ‘even the non-Kiswahili and English were never left out. It was one of a kind training where the participation was very high.’

The success of the Girl’s Empowerment Project is grounded in four transitional components that address the various learning, social, economic, and emotional challenges experienced by unaccompanied refugee girls and young women.  It fosters confidence and builds their capacity to respond to their experiences and begin healing, demand their rights, and seek a life of dignity.  

The Girl’s Empowerment Project model includes:

-          Basic Education

-          Life Skills Training and Discussion

-          Vocational Training

-          Financial Literacy Training and Income Generation

The Maisha Collective is a major component of the Financial Literacy Training and Income Generation section of the Girl’s Empowerment Project. Graduates from the Girl’s Empowerment Project are invited to join the Maisha Collective where they will participate in an intensive tailoring course where they learn the art of creating designs and the technique of ‘tie and dye.’ All scarves are hand-made and use one-of-a-kind designs that are created by the girls and women.

‘It makes me feel happy and proud to know American women are wearing our scarves. To know there are people out there who are listening to our stories and wanting to help makes me very happy,’ says Grace, one of the participants in the Maisha Collective.

In the last month Heshima Kenya has opened an office in the heart of Chicago to further the advocacy and development of Heshima Kenya’s programs and the Maisha Collective. The office is open for our supporters who are interested in finding out more about our work and the issues that has driven many of the girls and women to Nairobi as unaccompanied urban refugees. Heshima Kenya is also using the Chicago office to showcase and sell our line of Maisha scarves produced by the Collective in Nairobi.

To continue supporting The Girl’s Empowerment Project and Heshima Kenya, please make a donation and follow Heshima Kenya on Facebook  and Twitter 

The Maisha Collective
The Maisha Collective



About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Heshima Kenya

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Alisa Roadcup
Executive Director
Chicago, IL United States
$63,191 raised of $95,000 goal
877 donations
$31,809 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. Learn more.
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money for this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page for this project.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.