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TEDx Kakuma Breaks Down Barriers for Refugees

TEDx Kakuma
While the world sits in social turmoil determining how best to help refugees from countries such as Syria, TEDx is attempting to bring light where there is darkness. TED is a non-profit organization that works to share ideas with the masses, inspiring the individual to speak out and be heard.

TED has been prevalent in developed countries in North America and Europe since 1984; however, they have since expanded to include other nations from other continents. TEDx started in 2009 and is run independently. It reaches out to smaller communities around the world. While this expansion was sorely needed and widely welcomed, TEDx surpassed all former barriers by choosing to host TEDx Kakuma, a convention in a Kenyan refugee camp.

TEDx Kakuma

On June 9, 250 TEDx speakers spoke to a group of refugees that have found a temporary home in Kakuma, Kenya. The speakers presenting at the TEDx Kakuma conference included former refugees and scholars who have spent their life’s work studying developing countries, poverty and poverty reduction techniques.

By having these speakers physically come to the refugee camps, it not only provides the speakers with some firsthand experience and knowledge of the people and places they study but also provides the refugees with an opportunity to speak their truth and be heard. Collaboration and such a meeting of the minds is a strong and beneficial way to connect the world, showing us that whether we be the refugee or the TEDx Kakuma speaker, we work for betterment together.

Holding a TEDx within the refugee camp is essential to reminding refugees of something sorely and too often overlooked – their humanity. Speakers, such as athletes from The Refugee Olympic Team and others who grew up in refugee camps, provided the opportunity for hope to grow and for the refugees to be inspired.

Providing A Platform For Refugees

Many of the speakers at the TEDx Kakuma convention represented a program called the LuQuLuQu campaign, showing the strength of refugees all over the world. The program focuses on the displaced due to poverty, violence, war or oppression. The U.N. Refugee Agency, the founders of the campaign, work to protect the rights of those often ignored providing a voice when there often is none.

Providing this platform to refugees in the Kakuma camp allows hope to grow and to foster growth away from poverty and towards a better future. By introducing this campaign in a refugee camp instead of at a regular TED convention where only a few privileged individuals have access to it, TEDx Kakuma is working to end poverty and discrimination at the source rather than focusing on it from a distant perspective.

Refugee status cannot be solely attached to poverty within a nation; however, it can be linked as a common factor. When nations don’t work to provide protection for their citizens, more refugees are created and more poverty spreads into refugee camps. By providing TEDx in a refugee camp such as Kakuma, Kenya, TEDx is working to bring more minds into the poverty discussion. More importantly, TEDx is providing those who are struggling with the opportunity to be a part of the conversation, a factor sorely needed to end poverty.

– Kayleigh Mattoon
Photo: Flickr