18.01.2018 - News

“I was proud to see how grateful the mothers were”, says Director General of Tdh after his return from Dadaab, Kenya

Terre des hommes’ Director General Vito Angelillo and goodwill ambassador Xavier Colin report on their visit to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.

In 2017, Vito Angelillo, Terre des hommes’ Director General and Xavier Colin, former journalist and ambassador for Tdh visited our child protection projects in Dadaab refugee camp. They had opportunities to exchange with Tdh team members in the field and to discuss with key partners and stakeholders. Most importantly, they interacted closely and directly with children and families who are participating in our programmes. Through this special visit, our organisation reaffirmed its commitment to refugee children and local communities in Dadaab camp.

Xavier Colin (on the left) and Vito Angelillo (on the right) in Tdh Office, in Dadaab.

It was Vito Angelillo’s first time in Dadaab refugee camp: “The living conditions in Dadaab camp were much worse than I expected, with families of seven or more living in a hut made from branches, sleeping in the dirt. But Tdh’s work for children is very impressive. Tdh priority is the security of the children, to provide them with a safer environment, free of harm and fear. Refugee children are faced with several issues such as sexual violence, child abuse and lack of education. I was proud to see how grateful the mothers were during our visit. They had clearly understood the key elements of the programme and were able to explain me why it was a good thing for their children to be part of it. Our activities also focus on raising awareness among parents and caregivers to ensure children have a safe home and are cared for.”

Xavier Colin and Vito Angelillo visiting Tdh Child Friendly Space (CFS) in Hagadera camp.

In a safe area which is in complete contrast with the climate of violence spread throughout the huge Dadaab Refugee complex, Tdh’s team supports more than 4000 children, provides them with schooling, playgrounds, activities like reading, drawing, singing and all other disciplines that helps this young generation increase their knowledge and grow up with dignity.

Our ambassador Xavier Colin, a former journalist – also member of Tdh Council – asked children and parents what they think of Tdh’s presence and activities in the camp. Nico, a 15 year old boy, told him: "Not only do we go to school, but we have pride in making sure that all the children we know do the same." Another boy added: "The truth is, some families have left the camp and returned to Somalia, but eventually came back to Dadaab because their children would never have a chance to go to school in a country still at war in most of its provinces."

Since the beginning of the 4th phase of Tdh’s project supported by US-State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) in May 2017, over 12,000 children accessed our child friendly centres. Tdh also coordinates activities for children in Hagadera transit centre – targeting families going for repatriation or housed for safety reasons – with the help of an animator dedicated to facilitate the activities and process child protection cases.

Much still needs to be accomplished to assure safe and viable conditions in this protracted crisis. Tdh’s commitment does not falter, whilst much needed funding is increasingly difficult to mobilize for this protracted crisis.

Photo credit: ©Tdh