Hekima Place is the outward realization of Kate Fletcher’s lifelong conviction that every human being is deserving of dignity, love, and the opportunity to lead a full and productive life.
As a Sister of the Divine Redeemer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kate spent two decades serving in education and administration. After leaving the convent, she ran the administration of a busy nursing home. Years later, after marrying Dr. Leonard “Fletch” Fletcher, she and Fletch devoted countless hours to helping an impoverished Appalachian community in West Virginia.
Kate again felt drawn to a life of service
Widowed at a relatively young age in 2002, Kate again felt drawn to a life of service. At the time, Kate recalls, experts were predicting that over 20 million children in Africa would be orphaned due to AIDS—an unthinkable, horrifying number. Upon Googling “AIDS, Africa & orphans,” Kate discovered a children’s home in Nairobi, Kenya, one of the countries in Africa hit hardest by the HIV & AIDS epidemic. Kate, who spent part of her childhood in an orphanage, knew first-hand the devastating impact of poverty and illness on children—and the challenges of providing orphaned children with a safe, loving, and family-like home.
Kate moves to Nairobi
In 2003, Kate moved to Nairobi and immersed herself in the challenging new role of full-time volunteer. Over time, she observed that some children were more likely to fall through the cracks of the overburdened social services system. Among them were girls who had been orphaned because of AIDS, but who were themselves HIV-negative. In 2005, with the support of a Board of Directors, private donors, and churches in the United States of America, Kate founded Hekima Place. The home was initially domiciled in a rented facility on a farm in Muteero, Karen.
Ten acres of land purchased at Corner Baridi
As the institution grew, there was a need to find a more permanent residence and this was actualized in 2009, when the Board of Directors purchased ten acres of land at Corner Baridi, looking onto the 7 peaks of the Ngong Hills. Very quickly Kate successfully raised the necessary funds to build a new permanent campus. Hekima Place now consists of seven beautiful homes for the girls and their caretakers. Four homes for the girls, a guest house, a house for the founder, and one for the guards. There is also a dining hall, administrative buildings, a large garden, livestock, and a borehole that provides safe, clean water both for the home and the local community.
Throughout Kate’s experience living in Kenya, she strongly believed that access to quality education was a major component of shaping the girl’s future and breaking the cycle of poverty. Though the girls were thriving at Hekima Place, their classrooms were overcrowded and a positive learning environment was nowhere in sight. Knowing how quality education can make a huge difference in the lives of children, Kate set out on her next vision of building a school. The 10 acres of land purchased for the home was split in half and to start the next chapter of Hekma Place’s history by building a school built on love. In 2020, Hekima Hills Learning Centre opened its doors to not only the girls of Hekima Place but to the children in the local community.
Continued work of Hekima Place
The work of Hekima Place continues to be inspired by Kate’s example of service, compassion, and faith. With our focus on education and learning, we strive each day to live out our name Hekima which means “wisdom” in Kiswahili.
Our story is vibrant, joyful, and continues to grow and grow
Learn how you can get involved with our work in Kenya today!