(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Mission Korr in Kenya provides services to nomadic populations in the surrounding community and within Kakuma refugee camp, which was established in 1992 near Kenya’s border with South Sudan and was a place of refuge for unaccompanied minors fleeing warring factions in what was then southern Sudan. Kakuma is operated by UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, with assistance from Salesian missionaries in the country as well as several other humanitarian organizations. The camp offers refugees safety, security and life-saving services such as housing, healthcare, clean water and sanitation.
Today, Kakuma refugee camp has more than 180,000 refugees, well over the 120,000 person capacity for which it was built. Within Kakuma, Salesian missionaries provide eight outreach locations and a Catholic parish, and operate four technical training facilities in the camp. The main center offers technical trades as well as a literacy and math program. Another technical school offers agriculture education where 320 youth each year learn advanced farming skills. In addition, a technology-focused center provides community technology access with computer training. A new facility, opened in Jan. 2016, offers classes for adults in carpentry, welding, sewing and the English language. The technical programs in Kakuma have successfully trained thousands of youth in viable trades in order for them to earn a living and care for their families.
Within the surrounding community of Korr, Salesian missionaries provide five outreach locations, a medical clinic, a nursery and primary school, boarding for both boys and girls, and a youth center as well as a Catholic parish. Salesian missionaries provide these services as they continue to be challenged by the ongoing drought affecting regions in Kenya causing severe food and water insecurity.
A recent report from UNICEF notes that in January 2014, the government of Kenya declared an impending drought with an estimated 1.6 million people affected. The drought has continued to affect vegetation, agriculture production and even livestock. The situation continued to worsen through 2015 and 2016 and now into 2017 due to a lack of access to food and water and an increase in food prices of what is available. UNICEF notes that food insecurity has more than doubled—from 600,000 people from August 2015 to March 2016 to 1.3 million people from August 2016 to February 2017.
Father Luke Mulayinkal, who oversees the Salesian missionaries’ work at Kakuma, has reported that as the days go by and the heat intensifies there is worry that even animals will begin to die and the situation of the local people will become even more critical. Salesian missionaries have already begun providing food relief with the limited means available. Right now, missionaries are providing milk, maize flour, wheat flour, oil and salt, which must be brought in from the community of Isiolo more than 230 kilometers (142 miles) away from Korr. Salesian missionaries are also providing access to clean, safe water from boreholes that have been dug.
“Although not far into 2017, we are already seeing the effects of the continued drought in our community,” says Fr. Mulayinkal. “There has been little to no rain at Korr and Kakuma, and many areas of Kenya are in need of food and water. At Korr, many children are suffering from vomiting and diarrhea due to the heat, and our medical clinic is working day and night serving the sick and the needy.”
Salesian missionaries will continue to assess the ongoing drought and food insecurity while meeting basic needs and providing education and social development services for youth and their families both in Korr and Kakuma refugee camp.
Salesian Missions – Kenya