Over the past two years, tens of thousands of refugees have arrived in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps. More than 90% of them are from Somalia, a country where ongoing conflict, record drought, and lack of economic opportunity have made it impossible for many to survive.
People walk hundreds of miles from their communities in Somalia to reach the refugee camps in Dadaab. There, they can count on access to food, water, and humanitarian services as well as free education for their children.
Since 2013, AFSC and local partners have worked in Dadaab. We provide trauma healing training for community-based counselors. We facilitate dialogues among young people, religious leaders, elders, and others to promote social cohesion. And we help people build the skills they need to heal—and work through conflicts peacefully.
That includes people like Eisha*, who fled Somalia after her husband and other family members were killed in a violent attack. At a refugee camp in Dadaab, she found it hard to get along with others and give her children the support they needed. One day, Eisha heard that she could talk to a counselor and get psychosocial support. Taking that step made a huge difference. Just the act of sharing her story with another person helped her begin to heal.
Over several counseling sessions, Eisha learned coping mechanisms to help face her trauma. She improved her relationships. Over time, she returned to school, learned skills to support her family, and started to rebuild her life.
As the country representative for Somalia and South Sudan, I am grateful for supporters like you who have made this work possible. I am also excited that we are building on these efforts to reach thousands more people.
We are launching a new project that will provide food, water, and other vital assistance to refugees, internally displaced people, and residents along a major migration corridor from Somalia to Kenya. The corridor includes the Somalia port city of Kismayo, the rural border town of Dhobley, as well as refugee camps in Dadaab.
Through our new initiative:
Young people and other community members will take part in workshops to learn about nonviolent conflict resolution.
Counselors and social workers will receive training on trauma healing so they can better assist community members.
Youth will learn about civic engagement and develop their own projects to improve their communities.
Local partner organizations will be trained on migrant rights and policies. They’ll also receive support to monitor the humanitarian situation along the corridor so we can better address critical needs.
People from different clans and backgrounds will get to know each other and build solidarity through recreational activities. These activities include soccer matches and informal discussion groups in public spaces where people gather for coffee and traditional games.
We’re looking forward to ensuring more refugees and communities have the resources they need to face the challenges in their everyday lives. We hope you will join us to help people in Somalia and Kenya meet their basic needs as they build more peaceful, resilient communities where everyone can thrive.
If you’d support our efforts to aid refugees and other displaced people around the world, please make a gift to AFSC’s Refugee Response Fund today.
*Eisha is a pseudonym