Life in the camp: A state of waiting

Kakuma Camp is located in a remote desert region of Kenya. The regulations are extremely restrictive: refugees are not allowed to leave the camp and thus have no chance to integrate socially in Kenya. Meanwhile, a provisional parallel world has developed there, full of shops, schools, restaurants. People live there in a constant state of waiting for the situation in their home countries to improve, or to be taken in by other countries. However, the cemetery on the outskirts of the camp shows that for many, the journey has not continued.

In contrast to Kenya, the situation in neighbouring Uganda is quite different. Here, refugees enjoy more freedom, are allowed to work, study and, in rural areas, are sometimes even given a piece of land which they can cultivate to make themselves independent of emergency food aid. The country is seen worldwide as a pioneer in dealing with migration.

"I am here since 20 years. And this place is bad, the weather is extreme. I do not understand why I am still here, and not in Canada or Australia. The UN even told me that I am an emergency case for a resettlement. But I came when I was young, and now I am old.”

Tesfaye A. from Ethiopia,
Resident of Kakuma Camp in Northern Kenya, 2018