More than half a million refugees have fled into Kenya to escape war in their countries. Thousands of young women who live in the capital of Nairobi without family or guardians to protect them are at extreme risk of exploitation and abuse.
Meet Heshima Kenya, an organization that provides a safe place for these girls and their children to heal and find hope. Heshima Kenya provides transitional shelter for girls and their children who are at extreme risk, as well as ongoing support and monitoring after they move to community living arrangements. Heshima offers an intensive program of counseling, medical and legal advocacy, family tracing and other emergency assistance. Foster care support includes home visits and food baskets. The girls at Heshima have 24 hour access to full time social workers.Heshima Kenya’s multi-pronged and holistic approach treats not just discreet symptoms of the girls’ disenfranchisement, but addresses their entire refugee experience. Heshima’s programs protect, nurture, educate, empower and provide a foundation for economic independence.
In terms of education, Heshima Kenya runs the Girls Empowerment Project; an alternative education program tailored to each girl’s individual needs. The program is aligned with Kenya’s national curriculum and includes
- Basic literacy
- Life skills
- Field Trips
- School sponsorships.
Graduates are also invited to participate the Maisha Collective, an entrepreneurship training program where girls design, produce and market a line of hand dyed textiles, allowing them to begin earning and saving money.
The girls served at Heshima have survived horrible tragedies and have traveled great distances. At Heshima Kenya, they can be adolescents and young mothers they are – finding their voices and learning to believe again in their rights as human beings.Young women play an essential role in peace building. Through their shared experiences, the girls at Heshima Kenya forge new relationships with peers from throughout East Africa based on understanding and respect. As they go forward, these young women will be leaders in strengthening their communities.
Would you like to get involved and support the most vulnerable of our global societies? You can be part of restoring respect, honor and dignity to these girls by donating. Click here for more details.