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Kenya January 2018

Forgotten crises in Africa

How emergency pedagogy helps children and adults in Kenya

Only 100 km from the border to Southern Sudan, the refugee camps Kakuma and Kalobeyei are located. Hundreds of thousands of people live here. They flee from war, violence, hunger and drought. Usually the camps are their last place of refuge. Although Africa is the continent with the most refugees overall, many of them are so-called internally displaced persons, refugees in their own country, or fleeing to neighbouring countries. An end of the flow of refugees to Kenya is not in sight. The people come from Southern Sudan and Somalia, but also from Burundi, Ethiopia and Congo. Countries whose forgotten crises are hardly noticed in the Western press. For the local people, however, they are a reality; for most of them it is impossible to think of a return.

Six years ago, an emergency pedagogical team travelled to Kakuma for the first time to support the local population. They have experienced terrible things and need help in processing their experiences.
Our partner organisation Waldorf Kakuma Project works daily with the children in the Kakuma and Kalobeyei camps. Most of the local staff came here as refugees themselves. In order to support them and to train them in the work of emergency education, an emergency pedagogical assignment took place in the refugee camps from 13 to 27 January 2018. In addition, as part of this mission, a playground was also built, which now brings a little bit of joy into the children's daily life in the dull refugee camp.
The stories of the employees and children who come to Child Friendly Spaces show how catastrophic the situation is for many local people and how the emergency educational support can be a turning point in their lives.

John is 10 years old and comes from the Congo (DRC). He comes directly to the emergency pedagogy team and seeks the proximity of Waldorf Kakuma's team. One of them tells us that as early as 2012, when the work started in the Kakuma refugee camp, John was already involved in the activities and came to the newly established kindergarten every day. It quickly became apparent that he was always very hungry. The team members looked after him more intensively and soon it turned out that John was an orphan. He grew up with relatives and was abused there. With the help of Waldorf Kakuma he was able to be admitted to a sanctuary. He attended kindergarten for two years. Today John lives with a foster family, goes to school and develops very well.

For Eric, fleeing was the only way to a future. Political assassinations, rape and violence against civilians are the order of the day in his native Burundi. As in many African countries, the use of child soldiers is also a matter of course. Some of the children volunteered, but thousands were forced to go to war. Eric is also abducted as a child and was to be conscripted as a child soldier. He manages to escape, but the rebels continue to threaten him and his family until he finally has to leave his country.
He landed at Camp Kakuma, where he worked with Waldorf Kakuma from the very beginning. He tells us that the beautiful experiences he has made there make it easier for him to arrive and now also to live in the camp. The support of the international team in the emergency education work with the children and the daily training sessions let him look to his future with more confidence:"One day I wish to be able to return to my country. I want to work there as a teacher and bring in the emergency pedagogical methods I have learned here."

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