Every continent is susceptible to the problem of mass displacement, either within or across country borders worldwide. The number of affected people vary over time, due to newly arising conflicts, repatriation movements and new conflicts in protracted conflict areas, such as Africa’s Great Lakes region and South-West Asia. By running away from their homes, family and community life is often disrupted and the affected people are cut off from usual resources, placing them in vulnerable situations.
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This experience mostly affects specific groups that are already vulnerable, including children and adolescents, people living with disabilities, the elderly, widows, female headed households and women (Bruijin, 2009).
Ghazal (2005) argues that displacement results not only in the loss and destruction of land, sources of livelihood, and personal belongings, but the refugees’ lives and their social fabric are left in complete disarray. Families face extreme poverty and hardship, often for the first time. According to UNHCR (2009) refugees in urban areas encounter many challenges in comparison with other poor city-dwellers. Beside protection problems that confront them, they often lack the community support systems that help poor nationals to survive.
According to the Refugee Convention of 1951, a refugee is a person unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group, or political opinion (UNHCR, 2010). However, due to specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa, Organization of Africa Unity (A precursor to the African Union) adopted a Convention (1969, p.1) which defines a refugee as:
a person who, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
Today, there are 22.5 million refugees in the world with 30% being hosted in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, there are 466,134of which 48% are female and 52% male. In terms of nationality distribution, 54.6% are from Somalia, 24.4% from Southern Sudan, and 8% from Democratic Republic of Congo. Then 6.7% are Ethiopians, 2.8% and 2.7% are from Burundi and Sudan respectively while 0.8%% are from Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda and other nations. UNHCR has clustered Kenyan refugee statistics into three: Nairobi, Kakuma and Dadaab. In terms of location, 185,624 representing 40% are in Kakuma Camp, 207,622 (44.5%) refugees are in Dadaab Camp, 68,743 representing 14.7% are in urban areas, mainly Nairobi while 4,145 ( 0.8% are in Moyale (UNHCR,
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