Hekima Place is a safe, loving and faith-based home for orphaned vulnerable girls in Kenya. We support excellence in education and empowerment for their futures.
At Hekima Place, each day we live out our belief that
- Every human being deserves compassion, care, and respect
- Children have the right to be protected, loved, and valued
- Girls around the world have the potential to create stable, prosperous, and just societies
- Through education to empower their futures, young children in Kenya will make positive contributions to their families, communities, and society as a whole
At Hekima Place we meet each of our children where they are and provide them with the love, support and education they need to grow into independent, empowered adults who can create positive change in their communities and in the world.
The girls who come to Hekima Place have experienced profound hardships, traumas, or losses in their young lives. Many have been directly affected by the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS, which is still a huge public health crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Approximately 7-11% of the population in Kenya is estimated to be HIV positive, and over two million children in Kenya have been orphaned or are otherwise vulnerable. Hekima Place works with the local county District Children’s Office, so that the children in most urgent need of rescue and care can find refuge with us.
We welcome girls of all ages and backgrounds. Some of our girls have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, while others were forced into household servitude or ended up on the street. Some children come to us from impoverished informal settlements (slums) in urban areas. In these environments, abuse, neglect, and malnutrition are all too common, especially for children who have lost one or both parents.
Other girls have come from rural villages and traditional pastoralist communities, where families often teeter on the brink of extreme poverty and life-threatening illness. In the most traditional communities, girls rarely graduate from eighth grade, and female genital mutilation (FGM) is still commonly practiced.
For children to succeed academically and develop emotionally, they must first feel safe, loved, and valued. Our girls are given the love and care they need to grow into curious, confident young women. Our philosophy of consistency and patience, along with high but reasonable expectations, is allowing our girls to thrive–whatever their background or family circumstances.
As of 2013, Kenya is still among the ten countries with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world.
Girls are at particular risk of being left behind. In Kenya, girls are much more likely to be illiterate (an estimated 30%, as opposed to 14% for boys) and many will fail to gain admission to high school. These girls grow up at a disadvantage economically, politically, and socially, often for the rest of their lives.
Even when girls are able to graduate from primary and secondary school, they continue to face daunting challenges. The unemployment rate in Kenya hovers around 40%, with the informal and unregulated sector representing an enormous percentage of the overall economy. The youth unemployment rate is estimated to be even higher, around 65%, one of the highest in the world. Without an advanced degree or certificate, underprivileged girls in Kenya have little chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.
How We Are Unique
Hekima Place was designed to provide an intimate, family-like environment: our campus is made up of small cottages; evening meals are communal; and we travel as a family to school, church, and other outings. Dedicated, full-time Kenyan housemothers (“mums”) care for and provide guidance for the younger girls, and older girls have chores in their own cottages and around the campus, including helping to care for their younger sisters. Meanwhile, visitors from around the world come to share their time, energy, and love, often becoming friends and mentors to the girls for years to come.
Our school was built on love and a positive learning environment. Where other schools in Kenya are overcrowded and not conducive to learning, our classrooms are designed for only 30 students which allows for more one on one learning!
We believe every child is deserving of love, dignity, and care. We are committed to giving the children who live and learn with us the opportunity to thrive and to grow into happy, productive adults. We invest in the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of every child, at whatever point in their lives they reach us.
Since our founding in 2005, Hekima Place has cared for dozens of girls in urgent need of rescue and care.
Hekima Place began in 2005 with 10 girls on a rented property, and our Founding Director Kate Fletcher has always intended for Hekima Place to remain small and familial.
The need is great, however, and over the last decade, we have grown and become a respected part of our community. Today, over 90 girls are part of the Hekima Place family, but we remain a close-knit, intimate community. This strong foundation gives our girls the chance to fulfill their God-given potential to become educated, loving, and engaged members of their community and the world.
Though Hekima Hills Learning Centre opened its doors in 2020, we have continued to make a lasting impact on the community as the school’s enrollment continues to grow. Beginning with only 41 students, our classrooms are now full of 224 students!