Did you know that in every 10 seconds, about 5 people get displaced? They get stripped off their homes, livelihoods, families, sense of security and belonging, but the historic #TedxKakumaCamp has shown the world that even though a refugee can be stripped off everything, their is something to hold on to.
Kakuma Camp which lies in the heart of Turkana County in northwestern Kenya, was established in 1992 to serve Sudanese refugees and has expanded ever since to take in people fleeing war from across Africa.
Currently, the small city of thatched roof huts and mud-brick shelters hosts around 185,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, the DRC, Eritrea, Uganda and Rwanda with 2,000 thriving businesses in and around Kakuma Camp
Tens of thousands more watched a livestream of the talks — made possible by Kenyan telco Safaricom — and joined viewing parties across the US, Latin America, Europe and Australia.
Following the proceedings via livestream, it was amazing to see the hundreds of Kakuma residents battling the heat and dust to listen and share their stories of determination as the speakers offered never heard before stories on the refugee experience.
Speakers at the event
South Sudanese track-and-field athlete Yiech Pur Biel, who represented the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro
Incredible journey of a refugee grew up in #Kakuma camp to 2016 Olympics. Inspiring story of @Pur_Biel is another example how sport promotes opportunities and offer life. #TEDxKakumaCamp @melissarfleming pic.twitter.com/T0n4TqUL5Y
— Shafeeque (@mail2shafeeque) June 10, 2018
Somali American supermodel Halima Aden, who grew up at the Kakuma camp and is a High Profile Supporter for UNICEF.
She travels internationally, speaking at universities and various events about the importance of inclusion and acceptance.
South African model, actress and activist Nomzamo Mbatha who is part of the LuQuLuQu Tribe uses her voice to advocate for refugees. The LuQuLuQu Tribe is a social movement that was created in November 2017 by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to transform public perceptions of the African refugee.
What a moment! Still pinching myself that this happened. This happened!
— Nomzamo Mbatha (@NomzamoMbatha) June 10, 2018
Mercy Akuot, South Sudanese Community Worker
When she was only 15, Mercy Akuot was married off against her will, to an elderly man. She escaped the forced union and now advocates for women’s rights and supervises a women and girls empowerment program in the camp.
Ann McCreath, founder Of East Africa’s fashion powerhouse Kiko Romeo Africa also unveiled #IamKakuma with UNHCR Kenya to showcase African-inspired contemporary clothing in Kakuma Refugee Camp.
.@AnnMcCreath founder Of East Africa’s fashion powerhouse @KikoRomeoAfrica has unveiled #IamKakuma w/@UNHCR_Kenya to showcase African-inspired contemporary clothing in Kakuma Refugee Camp #TEDxKakumaCamp @RaoufMazou @Refugees @UNHCRInnovation pic.twitter.com/0D2P8fLoni
— Digital Humanitarian (@PhilipOgola) June 10, 2018
All the stories and the speakers represented at the #TedxKakumaCamp show just how we can break away the stereotypes placed on refugees because they really are more than what we can see. They are dreams, hopes, ambitions and success stories waiting to burst forth!
All talks will be available to view on YouTube in the coming weeks and you can follow some of the proceedings of the event from UNHCR’s Facebook page.