Nic Hailey hosts 10th anniversary celebration for RefuSHE at Nairobi residence

RefuSHE 10th Anniversary
The RefuSHE fashion show featured unique hand-dyed textiles which showcased the Girls’ Economic Empowerment Project. Photo: Facebook/UKinKenya

On Thursday night, the UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, in partnership with the British Chamber of Commerce Kenya, hosted the Decade of Impact Gala in Nairobi.

The event was to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of RefuSHE (formerly known as Heshima Kenya), the first and currently only organisation dedicated to refugee girls in Kenya.

RefuSHE 10th Anniversary
A catwalk was set up on the lawn of the High Commissioner’s residence in Nairobi. Photo: UKinKenya

RefuSHE specializes in identifying and protecting unaccompanied and separated refugee children and youth, especially girls, young women, and their children living in Kenya. Their shelter, education, and community outreach services, coupled with local resources and the refugee community, empower this population to live healthy lives.

By providing resources for long-term support, refugee girls and young women become catalysts for strengthening networks creating sustainable change within the local and global communities.

Since 2008, RefuSHE has provided a lifeline of hope through direct services to over 3000 young refugee women and girls and their children in Kenya.

Last year, RefuSHE was named Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) NGO partner by the British Chamber of Commerce in Kenya.

This partnership has afforded them the opportunity to engage directly with key leaders in the Nairobi business community and to create meaningful relationships with companies such as Standard Chartered Bank, Reckitt Benckiser, Safaricom, Rotary Club of Langata, BBC, Celebrus Business Strategies, among others.

Through this partnership with RefuSHE, the women and girls are being supported with internships, education and training.

The evening got underway with the High Commissioner welcoming guests to his official residence in Nairobi after being introduced by British Chamber of Commerce Chairman Graham Shaw.

Guests were moved by some of the refugee girls, many of whom have fled persecution, war and conflict in their home countries, who spoke about the challenges they have faced, and their hopes for a brighter future. They also told how RefuSHE has provided them with a lifeline of hope by empowering and nurturing them.

RefuSHE 10th Anniversary
Some of the women who had been supported by RefuSHE shared their stories with guests. Photo: Facebook/UKinKenya

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Education Amina Mohamed, followed them on the stage and spoke about how, when girls are given basic opportunities, thorough programmes like RefuSHE’s holistic model, their potential is limitless. The Cabinet Secretary has partnered with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP to advocate for 12 years of quality education for all girls globally.

In a fashion show featuring unique hand-dyed textiles, beneficiaries of the organisation took to the catwalk to showcase the work of RefuSHE’s Girls’ Economic Empowerment Project (GEP). This alternative education programme has allowed participants to access education and livelihood opportunities, learn about their human rights, and to cultivate leadership skills.

Tweeting about this part of the evening, Deputy High Commissioner, Susie Kitchens described how wonderful it was to see the impact the organisation has had on the girls’ lives and celebrated the “young women, who happen to be refugees and survivors showing talent, style and confidence on the catwalk.”

To learn more about the work of RefuSHE, please visit their website.

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