Protecting refugee children in the Dadaab camps
Over the recent years, a growing number of refugees from Somalia have arrived in Kenya. More than 200,000 people live in the Dadaab refugee complex that was created in 1991. In this protracted refugee situation, services are limited and children are exposed to violence, exploitation and abuse. Terre des hommes (Tdh) provides access to basic needs of refugee families and ensures that children’s rights are guaranteed.
Through the project funded by the European Union, Tdh ensures that the most vulnerable children and their families have access to basic services. Through case management, we follow up with children at risk and refer them to health, legal, psychosocial and other protection services. At the same time, we reinforce community-based structures that ensure that children can enjoy their rights.
Hundreds of children at risk supported
Tdh has identified hundreds of children at risk of violence, neglect, exploitation and abuse. Most of these children are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, unaccompanied minors in need of alternative care, adolescent mothers or children having to look after their family. We provide them with access to relevant services and respond to their basic needs with food, materials for school, hygiene and sleeping.
A 17-year-old girl who suffered abuse at home and ran away, tells us after having received a place to sleep and participated in Tdh counselling activities: “I discovered that given a supportive environment, I am a strong girl who is able to overcome difficult situations and become a better person.” Fardosa Shale, our case manager explains: “Counseling is essential to respond to the distress of children and their families. Tdh offers different types of therapy which include individual counseling, group and play sessions in our child friendly spaces. These are aimed at addressing practical needs in ways that enhance the well-being of children.”
Involving the community
Tdh works with parents and caregivers, community-based groups, community leaders, authorities and other partner organisations to ensure community involvement. We train volunteers in child protection so they can create and implement their own action plans to protect children while Tdh continues to support them. Until a durable solution will be available for all families in the Dadaab refugee complex, we will continue to ensure that children can enjoy their rights in a protective environment.
Photo credit: ©Tdh/Natalia Jidovanu