Project for Peace 2011
8 October 2011
Peace to the Refugee: A project to care for children with disabilities in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya, Africa
The goals of this project were to bring awareness to the plight of disabilities among children and demonstrate its treatability in the Dadaab Refugee Camp. This included discussions with parents of disabled children to explore the ways in which war has affected their child
The Dadaab Refugee Camp is located in the North Eastern province of Kenya, near the Kenya-Somalia border. It his home to over 400,000 refugees, many of whom have fled from Somalia as a result of famine and civil war. The most recent estimates of individuals coming into Dadaab has been as high as 1500 per day. Many people who arrive are extremely malnourished and sick, accounting for half of the young arrivals into the camp and a 4.5 fold increase in deaths among children less than 5 years of age compared to last year. Humanitarian organisations struggle to keep up with the surging population needs. These include clean water, basic shelter, food, and other essential items that are difficult to acquire in the middle of a vast Kenyan desert.
My time spent in Kijabe and Dadaab, difficulties and all, was worth the benefits of this project. The establishment of the BethanyKids surgical fund will provide disabled children with increased access to treatment that can greatly improve their quality of life. Residents of Dadaab have been deeply appreciative of the efforts to give their disabled children a chance at a life that is free of the stigmatisation and impairments associated with their conditions. By curing children of their disabilities, families are better able to find the relief that they desperately desire from caring for them and communities are encouraged to view disabilities as mainstream issues.
Victor Wu, Canada