I took a journey that would forever change the course of my life. 


I was 19 years old, I got on a plane and went to Kenya for what was meant to be a 3 month contract teaching English in an orphanage with a big international organization. After paying way too much $ to volunteer, with no one to pick me up at the airport for hours, being dropped off at a someone's house in a slum with no water, food or blankets, I realized very quickly that I fell into a lucrative voluntourism trap.  After that 3 month stint, I went back for another 7 months, leading to the unexpected creation of a team and the birth of I am Heshima. 


You see, every single volunteer promises to go back when they leave the first time. The reality is, very few ever do and their words fall onto the deaf ears of children who are used to broken promises.


Well, I kept my promise and went back. In full confidence, a child, followed by many others, whispered to me: “Lex, get me out of this hell”. Those words from that child’s mouth are those that led to the creation of I am Heshima.


This ‘hell’ the children spoke of looked like this: These children were products to sell the very profitable image of the typical ‘African child’ to a national and international market. Their everyday hell: Having rooms full of food and not being fed well leaving them hungry, having bags full of clothing but wearing rags, being sick and not getting the care they need. Being sold to locals for sex. Being raped, impregnated, and abandoned by the owners meant to protect them. Packing in children at triple their capacity. Being physically tortured and verbally abused with varieties of “You are here because nobody loves you”. The orders to the children were simple: if you tell anyone the truth, we are going to kill you.


We had 2 choices, to go home to our freedom with pretty pictures and go on to live our individual lives, or to help lil’ ones find their freedom.


We chose the latter of the 2. 


After tracking down families, children started to be rescued through escape plans and brought back home. There was a price put on my head, we were spied on and had to run for our lives constantly. I was 19 and fearless. Led by the ONLY 3 investigators ‘un-bribable’ by the orphanage, when enough children were rescued and safe, they started speaking out & exposing the truth. The community protested in the streets to shut down the orphanage and protect their children. After 4 years, with enough evidence, the orphanage was finally shut down and justice was served.


The worst part? These vulnerable children were successfully recruited by the orphanage with one unanimous selling point “Your child will get an education”. These children suffered all of this irreversible damage because they wanted to go to school.


This is WHY I AM HESHIMA was born. To protect and empower vulnerable children & youth by actualizing their biggest dream & their basic human right: providing EDUCATION & LOVE.


We started with ONE child in 2008. Today, our family comprises 600 children.  Scroll down and meet the amazing team!



Lexis Beattie & Frederick Marika, Co-founders of I Am Heshima




Founder & Counselor


As a child, I have walked in these kids' shoes and understand their struggles.

I want to give them different shoes to walk in so they can create a different path to walk on.

At I am Heshima, we are doing this every day, and I love it.




Founder & CEO

When reality slapped me in the face, I had 2 choices.  I could have run from it, or changed it.

I chose the latter.

I see potential in yourth, helping them see it within themselves is my passion .  I am dedicating my lfe to this movement and its children.

I AM Heshima.




Country Manager



I am creating a world where children can be their vibrant, energetic, playful selves, without any hindrance and have all of their basic human needs met.

This is WHY I am Heshima.




Country Manager



Fred & Lex are my inspiration.  I want to revive hope in individuals who have lost it and make them optimistic, regardless of the problems they encounter daily.

Honesty & accuracy are the best policies.




My Time Program



I have walked in the shoes of many of the girls we are servicing.

My message to our girls:

MY TIME of the MONTH will never hinder MY TIME on this earth.




My Time Program



I am leading the MY TIME program with the vision of transforming girls' lives by providing them with the materials and the resources they need to make the best choices.




My Time Program

Community Health Worker


As a Community Health Worker, I never want to see another girl engage in sex with boda bodas (taxis)in order to get money to buy sanitary pads.

I am doing my part to make sure girls are well taken care of and can grow up happy and safe.




My Time Program

Community Health Worker


For the time, girls are receiving guidance and counselling.

They are safe and free to be themselves.

I am seeing change, and that is the only reason I need.




My Time Program

Community Health Worker


I have always wanted the younger generation to live a better life than I have.  This is why I am providing continuous health education to the most vulnerable girls.

Creating awareness and self-empowerment is the best gift to be given.




My Time Program

Community Health Worker


This program is changing lives in the most direct way.  It is increasing self-esteem and sanitation and decreasing school drop out rates and abuse.

We are stripping away shame every day.




My Time Program

Community Health Worker


I want to be the man who sets the standard high for girls when they chose who to let into their lives.

That's why I do what I do.




My Time Program

Community Health Worker


I want girls to live their lives with the freedom to make their own decisions.

That is why I am proud to be a part of this team, because that is what we are helping them do!




Under The Mango Tree Program

Cycle 1 Teacher


Every day, I teach little people.

On day, those people will grow to be the people who run the world.

This is why my job with I am Heshima is important and I love it.




Under The Mango Tree Program

Cycle 2 Teacher


I am able to teach struggling students in a way they understand, and I have all of the resources I need to make it happen.

This is powerful.




Academic Scholarship Program



The greatest gift you can give a child are the skills and tools to chose their path in life.

That is what I am giving them.


gideon vincent Okoth

Heshima FC

Assistant Coach


For many, Heshima FC is the only family they have.

I am seeing young boy and girls transform every time they are on the field, and that is why I do what I do.


charles nyangwes atondo

Heshima FC

Head Coach


My passions are youth & football (soccer).

Football is the one thing that unites our youth.

I am using football to help them transform their lives, and is working.




Artistic Director


The question is not why but rather why not.

When you build it, if it's right, they will come.

Fred & Lex built it; they have come.




Artistic Director


It is my pleasure to share my passion with I am Heshima and create change using one of my skills.

That is pretty powerful.




Board Member

I got involved with Heshima in my university years, and now, just about 11 years later, I am still amazed at the accomplishments this grassroots organization & the youth participants have achieved together.

As a board member, I am able to offer insight into child development and social impact




Board Member


I'm proud of I am Heshima and its accomplishments!

I have been involved in this movement since its beginning and my most important contribution has been to support people that have such a passion and talent to accomplish our goals.




Board Member &

Shosho Heshima

We are a grassroots organization where our small donations are making a huge difference in a child's life.

Education is essential, without is there not much hope.  I am Heshima = Hope & so much more.

The kids best interests always come first.  I am a true believer in Heshima's philosophy.




Board Member

I was privileged to witness I am Heshima rise from nothing but a dream for this world to be better for those who had no access to the education they longed for.

As a health care provider who is committed to life long learning, I truly believe that we grow the most by helping those around us.


There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.



Hemmingford, QC

Canada     J0L 1H0


Kenya, Africa

P.O. BOX 6-50409

Nambale, Busia

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© 2019 I Am Heshima