Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Refuges in your own homeland
One of the groups which my daughter most wants to work with are the people living in the IDP camps outside of Nairobi.
One day while I was in Kenya we visited the IDP camp at Maai Mahu. Talk about heartbreaking. Most of these families were displaced following post-election violence in 2007. Before that they had decent homes and jobs. But when the political party which lost the presidential election challenged the results, violence broke out first in Kiberia slum and then throughout Kenya. Over a half million people were forced to leave their homes or lose their lives and when things quieted down, they had no place to return to. Their homes had either been destroyed or taken over by someone else.
Known as IDP or Internally Displaced Persons, groups of families across the countryside made make-shift shelters, hoping it was temporary. But as the years dragged on, they realized that this was now their home. They had become refuges within their own country.
Various outside groups have come in to help them build permanent housing. But the fact remains that they still are displaced. They have little income and little chance to move on to a better life.
While Val is in Kenya for three months, she hopes to work mostly with the people in these camps, empowering the women to earn their own income, seeing to the needs of the school children, and finding ways to raise money and awareness once she returns to the States. She’ll be working closely with Gee who has a passion for the people living in the camps.