Heshima Kenya is the first and only organization of its kind.
Heshima Kenya is proud to have redefined refugee protection through our one-of-a-kind holistic model. Since our founding in 2008, we have served thousands of women, girls, children, and infants, offering the gold-standard of care, protection, and empowerment for refugees.
Co-founders Anne Sweeney and Talyn Good established Heshima Kenya to address a crucial gap in care for unaccompanied and separated refugee girls and young women in Nairobi, Kenya. Through their years of work with refugees, Anne and Tayln understood that adolescent refugee girls were particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, especially sexual and gender-based violence. They set out to provide a safe community for these young women to learn, grow, feel protected and become leaders.
Heshima Kenya is the first organization in Kenya devoted to protecting unaccompanied minors and separated children and youth between the ages of 13 to 23 from Somalia, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi, as they experience the highest rates of exploitation and abuse. Nearly 70% of the young women supported by Heshima Kenya report having experienced some form of sexual and gender-based violence, though this percentage is believed to be closer to 80% as most do not report these incidents.
We provide safety and shelter for our most vulnerable participants, deliver a multi-disciplinary education program for students of diverse levels, support economic empowerment through our scarf-making social enterprise, provide childcare, accompany our participants to legal and medical appointments, and work within the refugee community in Kenya to identify, protect and fight for the rights of the most vulnerable.