I visited the heart of the Ifo camp in Dadaab yesterday and witnessed the conditions of the camp firsthand for the first time. I have lost my innocence.
I wrote an essay about it but it will not be published on this blog. The world has to know, but not in this forum, at least not now from me. I can’t be a poverty pornographer and take advantage of the kindness of those who showed me into their homes.
Instead I offer this letter to the world, written by a group of Dadaab refugees called the Refugee Silent Welfare Committees. What they say is real and true, and I hope we can create a world that has the capacity to stand up, take notice, and forbid people from destroying without check, countered in vain by the futile sympathies of others.
Dear All the concerned Memebers,
With humble respect, on behalf of the refugees living in the camps of Dadaab, we would like to share our grievances with the world and ask for you to help us find our way to freedom.
Our lives in the camps are far worse than you can imagine. We live in an open prison, far away from justice and humanity. We talk, but our voices are never heard. We move, but only inside a cage. We have many skills and talents, but we are denied our chance to maximize our potential. We are chained to a life full of stress and despair; a life for which many would prefer death. We are denied opportunities for education and employment. We live in a condition without adequate water, food, or health facilities. We are arbitrarily beaten or detained by police within the confines of the camp. We lack the ability to freely express ourselves or have control over the decisions affecting our lives.