IAFR in Kakuma

Field notes, perspectives, stories & updates from IAFR's work in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Refugee Education

May 14, 2021
Refugee girls in school (Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya)
Schooling is one of the great challenges facing people in refugee camps.

Schools are short on everything. There are not enough classrooms, books, or even teachers. In Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya), it is not uncommon to find a class overflowing with 200 children – most without pens, paper, or access to textbooks. Teachers must make do with a little chalk and damaged blackboards. Many teachers are refugees themselves. Few have a teaching degree.

A special challenge for girls

The situation is especially challenging for girls as they are often expected to take care of their siblings – and possibly their neighbor’s kids too. Girls are often responsible for cooking for their whole family. And they are also the ones expected to fetch water and collect food rations. With all these expectations, few have time for school. It is little wonder that many more boys graduate from high school than girls.

Many are getting left behind

There need is great to find solutions to these challenges so that displaced girls are not left behind when it comes to getting a basic education.

Failure to complete school severely limits their future possibilities in life. Many resort to marriage at a young age in order to survive.

Imagine the disadvantages they face should they ever be among the lucky ones who are able to return to their country of origin – or get resettled to another country like the USA.

The five scholarship recipients receiving their smart tablets in Kakuma
A Life Transforming Partnership with a US Church

A couple of years ago, National Presbyterian Church (NPC) in Washington D.C. asked IAFR if we could partner together to sponsor five girls in Kakuma through high school. We were eager to do so. As a result, these girls are attending quality boarding schools in Kenya today (photo)!

Overcoming the Challenges of Covid-19

Like everywhere else, the Covid pandemic threw a brick into the past school year. Our partnership with NPC made it possible for us to provide each girl with a smart tablet, internet access, and a solar lamp that can also charge their tablets. These things have helped the girls keep up with their studies in spite of their schools being closed for nine months this year. Although they face a multitude of challenges in life, all five girls are progressing well.

A related story from Christianity Today

IAFR staff frequently contributes to The Better Samaritan, a blog produced by Christianity Today. Click here to read a brief interview with two refugees about the challenges of schooling in Kakuma.

Help a refugee girl through High School!

Wouldn't it be great to help more refugee girls get a quality high school education?

You can help. It costs a total of $9,100 to put one girl through four years of high school. This includes tuition, room and board, transportation, and all other related expenses.

Perhaps you or your church want to help sponsor the next girl?


Click here to learn more about this refugee scholarship program.

- Tom Albinson
Post Link

Emergency Food Assistance

April 23, 2021

People from the refugee camp and host community wait to receive emergency food assistance

United Refugee and Host Churches (URHC), an IAFR partner in Kakuma, Kenya, sent some photos of their distribution of emergency food assistance this week. They are providing one month's supply of non perishable food items to each person. The supply will help around 600 people survive food shortages during the latest Covid-19 lockdown in Kenya.

Unloading a supply of maize for distribution

We are so thankful to our generous financial partners that make it possible for us to support this important work of URHC. How beautiful to see 163 churches from the refugee camp and surrounding host community work together to care for the most vulnerable people.

We are also pleased to see the URHC Training Campus and Buildings that IAFR funded being used for purposes that care for the whole community in practical ways. When the new building opened back in February 2019, we had no idea just how important its role would become in making such ministry possible.

- Tom Albinson
Post Link

About IAFR in Kakuma

IAFR has been serving people in Kakuma refugee camp since 2010. About 195,000 people (mostly women and children) have found temporary refuge here from war, persecution and gross violations of human rights.

We visit Kakuma 2-3 times annually, during which time this blog is most active.

Visit the Kakuma page on the IAFR.org website to learn more!

Our Partners

We partner with United Refugee and Host Churches (URHC) - a refugee initiated association of over 160 churches from within the camp and surrounding host community.

We also partner with National Council of Churches Kenya (NCCK), an exceptional humanitarian agency.

Questions or Comments?

Email Us

IAFR | 1515 East 66th Street | Minneapolis, MN 55423 | info@iafr.org | 612.200.0321

Copyright © 2021 International Association for Refugees. All rights reserved.