THE BLOG

Positive Impacts From Heshima Kenya

05/02/2013 11:17 am ET | Updated Jul 02, 2013

One of the most rewarding things about our work is realizing the positive outcomes from our young women who have worked so hard to overcome their traumatic experiences and strive for a better life. We cannot emphasize enough our pride in their resilience and endurance.

Margaret's Exceptional Strides
Margaret experienced incredible trauma before arriving at Heshima Kenya's Safe House. Margaret was forced to flee the DR Congo due to violent soldier attacks on her village, during which she was separated from her mother, uncle, and the rest of her family. Despite the adversities she experienced, Margaret thrived at the Safe House and in her school. We are happy to report her hard work has had extremely powerful results. Margaret has successfully exited the Safe House and is now living with two other girls also enrolled in Heshima Programs. She is currently working as an assistant teacher with Heshima Kenya and continues to go to school at night. Margaret is a wonderful example of the strong capabilities our young women possess.

Natalie: A Natural Leader
Natalie was 17-years-old when she arrived in the Safe House from the Congo. Despite the hardships she experienced, Natalie persevered to succeed and become a leader to others at the Safe House. Her support and assistance of her fellow peers led to Natalie's election by the young women to be their representative -- they come to her when they have issues, concerns, or questions. She uses her role to engage the others in unique, positive ways -- such as creating a cleanliness competition, where many girls were rewarded with trophies and gifts. She also acts as a liaison for staff, working to sensitively advise young women who are having trouble adjusting to the rules of the Safe House and briefing staff on the outcome. Most recently, Natalie was elected as the president of the Girl's Empowerment Program and received a sponsorship to pursue her education. She continues to work hard to further her education and be a strong leader to her peers in the Safe House.

Jeantile's Courage
Courage can be defined as the power or quality of dealing with or facing danger, fear, or pain. Jeantile, 16, demonstrates courage in action. In her very short time at the Safe House, Jeantile has shown courage to overcome her struggles and has improved immensely. Upon arrival, the horrors and trauma she and her son experienced in her recent past caused Jeantile to exhibit low self-esteem, be reserved around others, and be very possessive of her son. She constantly felt unsafe, and was anxious that she and her son would be displaced and need to make another long journey at any moment's notice. After continuous counseling, providing assurance, and constant assessment, Jeantile has developed higher self-esteem and a sense of safety and confidence that she and her son are in a secure place. This has led to a healthy detachment from her son, allowing him to attend nursery school to further his development, as she attends education classes at the Girl's Empowerment Program. Jeantile demonstrates the bravery and potential that we work to uncover in all of the young women in the Safe House.

Thank you again for your support and commitment, which makes it possible for girls like these to begin to lead empowered lives.

-- Jessica Brown, Grants Officer

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