Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya was yesterday the venue of the world’s first ever TED event held in a refugee camp.
TEDxKakumaCamp had various speakers including refugees, artists, aid workers and international experts among others.
The event organised with support from UNHCR and volunteer teams aimed at offering a different lens into the reality of life as a refugee, away from the images of devastation and suffering, and instead tell stories of resilience, contribution and creativity.
Mercy Akuot, a South Sudanese refugee, was one of the speakers at the event.
She said was married off against her will at 16 years old to an elderly man. She escaped the forced union and now advocates for women’s rights and supervises a women and girls empowerment programme in the camp.
“You never know what will happen; I don’t know who was in the crowd. May be I will touch someone’s heart to help another one person out there,” she said.
Kakuma provides a temporary home for 185,000 refugees from Somalia, South Sudan and other states hit by war in East and Central Africa.
Most refugees there are from South Sudan.
The camp is made up of rows of thatched or aluminium housing structures that provide little respite from blistering year-round heat.
Almost 2.5 million people from South Sudan alone have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries after the country plunged into civil war in late 2013.
The UN says a further two million are displaced inside the country.
According to TEDx, its lectures have grown in popularity having been viewed cumulatively over 4.6 billion times since going online in 2006.