A Visit to Kakuma

Background: In a previous blog I discussed a visit to Kakuma, the large UNHCR refugee camp located in northwest Kenya.  Here some new arrivals put up a temporary shelter.

East Africa has long suffered from unstable governments, rebel insurgency, terrorism, warfare, droughts and flooding.  As a United Nations Peacekeeper, I spent several years working and living in East Africa, especially in Somalia, Sudan and Congo.

Sudan, and South Sudan in particular has long been an area well known for creating large numbers of refugees.  You may recall the PBS special on The Lost Boys of Sudan, when upwards of 20,000 boys as young as six years old fled Sudan during heavy fighting in the 1980’s.  The survivors, like these pictured here fleeing their village in Sudan after it was burned,  eventually found their way to Kakuma.

Kakuma was established in the late 1960’s to accommodate the huge refugee population streaming in from Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan. As a result of continued instability in this region, over the years it has grown to its current population of some 200,000 including more than 45,000 pupils.

In March 2019, along with Philippa Blake-Roberts, a Kenyan born UK based author and friend, I paid another visit to Kakuma.  We met with the Headteacher and the teaching staff of Horseed Primary School.

Horseed School and the Adopt a Future program:  Under the Adopt a Future program, a wonderful and unfortunately now defunct program of the United Nations Association, local UNA chapters in America were encouraged to sponsor a school in Kakuma. Horseed is sponsored by a chapter that I belong to, the Greater Lansing, Michigan chapter otherwise known as GLUNA.  In the photo below we were delivering greetings to Headteacher Nick on behalf of GLUNA.

While viewing the school and meeting the students and staff, Headteacher Nick shared a list of priority needs for the school.

In my following blogs we will discuss his list and how a twist of fate came to play a big part in this story.


  1. Alan Whiteside on April 16, 2020 at 8:20 am

    well done such a good effort see ‘Bowling alone’

  2. Holly Cook on April 16, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks for the update. Looking forward to the next installment.

  3. Amit Kapadia on April 23, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Great background and intro Ron! Your personal connection and expertise is this part of the world is so valuable.

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