The Girls’ Empowerment Project (GEP) is our alternative education program that allows participants to access education and livelihood opportunities, learn about their human rights and to cultivate leadership skills.
For 70% of our refugee young women, this is their first chance to receive any education.
The following components make up the GEP, allowing for various educational levels and language backgrounds to be served:
Basic Education: The specialized alternative education curriculum includes various learning tracks of literacy and basic math, English, and Swahili courses. It is based on the national Department of Education's Non-Formal Adult Education Guidelines. There are four levels that correspond with formal primary school grades 1-8. The final level prepares participants for the Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE).
Life-Skills Development: Trainings on health, human rights and peace building, leadership, and community resources are structured in a way so girls gain self-confidence and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Topics include sexual and reproductive health, sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, HIV/AIDS prevention, peace building, leadership and human rights, and community collaboration.
Vocational Training: In this seven-month tailoring course, participants gain skills in hand and machine stitching, measuring and cutting of fabrics, stitch technique and sewing. There is a possibility of entering Heshima's social enterprise upon graduation. Participants also receive a small stipend to jumpstart their savings and transition into independence.
Income Generation: Through our social enterprise, the Maisha Collective, participants design, create and manage a line of unique, hand-dyed fabrics and other textiles. By saving their earnings, members of the Collective are able to pay their own rent, feed their families, cover household expenses and eventually launch their own successful businesses.
Early Childhood Development Center: Without the support of their own families and community, young mothers are in need of a necessary support system to help them develop confidence and knowledge as mothers. Heshima Kenya supports over 70 infants and toddlers of young mothers in our programs, including children who have serious disabilities. The presence of this childcare program enables mothers to attend their education courses on site while also attending to their children throughout the day.