Kenya: JRS Kakuma celebrates World Refugee Day in safe haven protection centre
20 June 2009

The safe haven protects women who have been victims of SGBV and their children. (Angelika Mendes/JRS)
The occasion presented opportunity for exchange of ideas and fellowship among the women and the JRS team.
Kakuma, 20 June 2009 JRS-Kakuma celebrated World Refugee Day in the Safe Haven protection centre with women and their children who carry the double burden of being displaced and threatened by sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

In collaboration with the Safe Haven residents and incentive staff members, the JRS counselling coordinator and the team at large designed a programme for the day. The women cooked a special meal and invited the JRS team for a shared lunch. In partnership with the National Council of Churches of Kenya and with FilmAid International, JRS secured equipment for video screening and showed educational cartoons for children and a film feature focusing on women’s struggle with relationships and unplanned pregnancies. The occasion presented opportunity for exchange of ideas and fellowship among the women and the JRS team and strengthened the bond that unites the JRS team and the women in quest for justice and identification of sustainable solutions for these families.

Providing comfort

The Safe Haven serves up to 40 women and children in danger of SGBV within the camp community by providing security, basic material needs and psychosocial support. Clients find refuge in the facility after facing physical and sexual violence, experiencing rejection, receiving threats of forced marriage, or as prevention of attempts to abduct their children. These dangers often come from those who should be protecting and supporting these women and children – their families, their husbands, their fathers.

As every year, the JRS team set out this past Saturday to make sure that the current insecurity and inability to physically participate in the camp-wide celebrations would not mean that the Safe Haven residents miss the happenings of World Refugee Day.

As the facility continues to be stretched on the top of its capacity and families are often staying beyond the recommended period of three to six months since equally safe alternatives are very difficult to secure, World Refugee Day celebration was an important reminder that the mission of JRS to accompany, serve and advocate applies with double urgency to those who during their flight for safety as refugees found that danger can be found also within the camp and within their immediate families and communities. 

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