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The Sha' Givens Story
When native Californian, Sha’ Givens went on her first mission trip to Kenya, she believed serving people in a third world country would be a great highlight before starting an acting career in Hollywood. Surprisingly, the villages she visited were more desolate than she imagined. The absence of clean water, plumbing, toilets, electricity and food was a reality. The resilience of the local women and children who often walked several miles each day in search of water gave her a passion to become a voice for people who felt forgotten.
Within days of encountering women who never learned the alphabet because they were told, “Education is not for girls,” her dream of becoming a Hollywood actress faded. God began to write a new script for her life. Weeks later she opened an adult literacy school in a remote village for women ages 18- 80 years old. The I Can Fly Literacy program grew to become the largest adult training center in the region. She later decided to open a secondary school to provide free and subsidized education for poverty stricken youth who could not afford to pay school fees at local public schools.
One year after opening the I Can Fly High School, Givens read an article in a local Kenyan newspaper about a ten year old girl whose parents married her off to a fifty-five year-old man in exchange for $40 cash and a cow. The story played a unique role in Givens’ transformation. She soon heard the voice of the Lord say, “GO GET THEM.” She gave up all of her life’s comforts and moved to Kenya to assist in the rescue of other young girls around the country affected by early marriages and female genital mutilation. As a result she created the Butterfly Project, which provides quality education, rescue services and shelter for girls caught up in harmful cultural practices that violate their human rights. With few resources, the first Butterfly House was completed brick by brick in 2012. The project continues to grow with two campuses and a wide range of programs, construction projects and lots of love.