"I know that I can become anything I want."
- Chance, RefuSHE Alumna
- Chance, RefuSHE Alumna
At the tender age of 14, soon after losing her parents in a violent attack on her village, Grace was forced to flee her home in South Sudan. During her journey, Grace was captured and forced to marry a member of the militia. After a harrowing year, Grace managed to escape to a nearby church with another young woman. She was 15 years old.
With the support of the congregation, Grace arranged a ride to UNHCR offices in Nairobi. The officials at UNHCR referred her to RefuSHE for care and protection. Grace was welcomed into our Safe House, which provides a safe and protected place for young women and their children to live, heal, and grow. She was enrolled in our Girls’ Empowerment Project and received specialized Case Management for medical services and counseling.
Today, Grace is thriving. She has immersed herself in RefuSHE's healing community of girls and women who share similar experiences and backgrounds.
“I finally feel like I have found a family again–a mother and a friend. I will continue with my studies and become a nurse,” says Grace. She is well on her way to achieving her goals and is currently focused on improving her English to continue her education.
Hawa is a mother, artist, writer, leader, and, perhaps most importantly, a survivor.
Born on the Kenya-Somalia border in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, Hawa’s life began in an extraordinary setting. In Dadaab, which literally means “the hard place on the rock,” impunity runs rampant and young women are exceptionally vulnerable to violence. Hawa credits her challenging beginnings as foundation to becoming the strong and clear-sighted woman she is today.
For a young girl living alone in a refugee camp, safety is a constant concern. At the tender age of 15, Hawa was sexually assaulted by a neighbor. Shortly after, she discovered she was pregnant at the hands of her abuser. Hawa was alone and afraid in the refugee camp without the support of any family. Her attacker still roamed free. With limited options and fearing for her safety, she made the courageous decision to leave the camp and travel to Nairobi with the assistance of friends.
Upon arriving in Nairobi, Hawa was referred to RefuSHE’s Safe House. Finally she was surrounded by other young women with similar stories and she no longer felt alone. For the first time in a very long time, Hawa felt safe. In RefuSHE’s healing community, Hawa received the support and care she needed during her pregnancy. A few months later, Hawa gave birth to a healthy daughter named Fartun. The RefuSHE community supported Hawa as she navigated the first months of new motherhood, and the staff were available 24/7 to assist. Eager to return to school, Hawa enrolled into our Girls’ Empowerment Project and her baby daughter was loved and nurtured in our full-time nursery. Hawa was excited to learn to read and write in English and Swahili. She had big dreams for herself and baby Fartun.
Now, two years later, Hawa is a leader, activist, and aspiring journalist. She watches the news and listens to the BBC every day, which inspires her to be like the journalists and reporters that she sees on television. Hawa is a leader in RefuSHE’s social enterprise, enabling her to earn her own income to support herself and her daughter. She loves tasseling scarves with baby Fartun on her lap!
Hawa feels safe and strong. She is focused on her education and cares for her baby with the support of friends, peers, and the staff of RefuSHE.
of Safe House residents report feeling a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
of RefuSHE program participants feel empowered to make a positive impact in the world
of RefuSHE program participants feel confident in their knowledge of human rights.