In April, we took The OMPowerment Leadership training to Kenya for the first time ever.
We spent one week with RefuSHE, the first and only organization dedicated to unaccompanied refugee girls in Nairobi, Kenya. The young women in RefuSHE's programs have been separated from their families or orphaned due to war, conflict, violence, and terrorism in their country of origin. RefuSHE supports the girls in the areas of safehouse, education, economic empowerment, and case management, including trauma informed, psychosocial counseling. Unaccompanied girls in Nairobi face unique risk factors, including: sexualized violence and physical abuse, marginalization, transient and hostile living environments, domestic servitude, a higher risk of depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and stress-related conditions, higher rates of illiteracy and fewer avenues for achieving self-sufficiency, higher risk of forced marriage and early pregnancy, higher risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)/Female Genital Cutting (FGC), xenophobia, extortion, and persecution from host communities. Over six days, we trained 11 amazing, inspirational women in trauma informed yoga and tools for self regulation.
The second week, we collaborated with Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), whose mission is to address systematic urban poverty in East Africa’s largest slum – Kibera – by providing critical services, operating community advocacy platforms, and building female leadership to create lasting change. SHOFCO also combats gender-based violence (GBV) by promoting community awareness and prevention, as well as providing survivors with psycho-social support - counseling, safe house shelter, and legal assistance. We will lead the OMPowerment training at the SHOFCO school for girls in Kibera, where a team of social workers and counselors support girls who’ve been affected by GBV, providing them with the above services, and a trauma informed yoga program called Growing Girl Gurus. We witnessed the journey of 12 young women. As a special treat, on the last day of the training, one of the women who graduated from the RefuSHE training the week before came to share her experience with the girls, and tell them how she has been using the practices in her daily life.