Hekima Place was founded in 2005 by Kate Fletcher after she uprooted her life and relocated to Kenya  to become a full-time volunteer for a local orphanage who specialized in caring for children who were  HIV/AIDS positive. While living in Kenya, she

quickly learned some children were more likely to  fall through the cracks of the overburdened social services system, especially young girls.  

In Kenya, young girls are commonly raised to become wives and mothers. They are not afforded the  same opportunities as their brothers such as attending school but are rather taught to keep house, care  for their siblings, cook for their families, or tend to livestock. Many families in Kenya live in extreme  poverty and due to this many families prioritize education for the young boys in the home leaving the  girls without a pathway for their future. In addition to this, young girls are commonly seen as property and, in some cases, are sold as child brides.  

As Kate learned more about the inequality the young girls face every day, she came up with a plan to  create a safe, loving home where vulnerable girls could come to live and receive the care, support, and  encouragement needed to become empowered individuals.  

The girls who come to Hekima Place have experienced profound hardships, traumas, or losses in their  young lives. From abuse, neglect, or abandonment to malnutrition or the need of critical medical care,  Hekima Place meets every girl where they are and provides them with the love, support, and education  they need to flourish.  

After learning about Hekima Place and seeing Kate’s vision in person, I quickly learned how important  the work we are doing across the globe truly is. While visiting Hekima Place in April 2022, I had the  pleasure of meeting June. June came to live at Hekima Place at just 1 year old. When any woman  entered the same room she was in, she would start to cry. I learned that the start of her life was difficult  and her experiences with women in particular created distrust and fear for any new woman she met. I  still remember the first time she felt safe enough for me to hold her. It took several days of careful  observation from June and plenty of love and support from myself, but when she opened her arms and  “asked” me to pick her up, I was able to live our mission first hand. 


Hekima Place is a safe haven for every girl who comes through the gates and from there so many  opportunities unfold at their feet. The girls have the chance to be kids, to learn and play and laugh. Their  imaginations are full of potential. Teaching them they are worthy of love and support makes a difference as they grow.


Laura grew up in a small town in West Virginia and throughout her life, she always felt called to help those in need. She focused her education on the criminal justice system in order to help those navigate the complexities of the legal system. She graduated from West Virginia University with her bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice which led her to Pittsburgh. Laura began her career in the nonprofit world with a local victim service organization as an advocate for people who were going through the hardest time in their lives after experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or other crimes such as assault or homicide. Over the next 7 years, she would gain vital experience that would lead her on the path to earning her master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management. Looking to make a lasting impact, she shifted her focus from direct services to a new position in the world of development. In August of 2021, Laura felt called to action as she learned of a position with Hekima Place and knew this organization was meant for her. Committing her career to encouraging, supporting, and empowering young women to become the best versions of themselves they can be called to her and she knew she was joining the perfect organization for her. She joined the Hekima family and immediately jumped in eager to learn everything there was to learn. Since then, Laura has dedicated herself to living out the vision that Kate began in 2005. Having a chance to be a part of the lives of each and every girl who comes to Hekima Place reminds her of the positive change happening through the work of Hekima Place.