Resources for ages 9-11 in Language & Literature
Teaching Tools, 16 February 2007
Kakuma refugee camp – the "children's camp"
In the early 1990s, 25,000 of the 40,000 people in Kakuma refugee camp were children. Some of these children had not seen or heard from their parents for many years. Many of the children were aged between seven and 15 years old. The sad fact is that many of these boys had allegedly served as child soldiers.
There was much effort in making Kakuma a positive camp in which the boys' welfare and education were provided for. Social workers had started a foster care project amongst the Sudanese refugees in the camp to give the boys some security. Another project to help the boys trace their parents in Sudan was started.
But refugee camps are not islands of peace. The political problems between the rival tribes that were fighting in Sudan were just as strong in the camp. The children felt tied to the war. For these boys, nightmares about their past experiences were made worse by their feelings of responsibility, and sadly, many returned to Sudan to fight as soon as they were old enough.