refugees in kenya by samoralee


									          Study, Service and Worship Information
                   for Disciples Women

                                   in Kenya
                                               Refugee &
                                         Immigration Ministries
                                        Disciples Home Missions
                      Supported by your Week of Compassion Offerings

                                   Are There Any Kenyan Refugees?
                        Kenya has not produced massive numbers of refugees who have fled to other
                  countries, but there are massive numbers of internally displaced persons in Kenya.
                  Violence has displaced up to 400,000 people in eastern, western, and northern Kenya
                  during the past decade. In most cases, political discontent, land disputes, and ethnic
                  tensions have been at the root of Kenya s domestic conflicts. Many internally displaced
                  families surrendered their land titles under duress during the 1990 s and sought shelter
                  in towns and cities. The government then seized and nationalized their land. Most
                  displaced Kenyans are rural farmers and herders ill-equipped to provide for their families
                  in urban areas.

                           Are There Any Refugees in Kenya?
      Kenya hosts over 200,000 refugees, including about 150,000 from Somalia, 60,000 from the Sudan,
10,000 from Ethiopia, and 9,000 from other countries. Kenyan authorities have required most of these
refugees to live in three designated camps near the village of Dadaab in the country s remote east (about
140,000 refugees), and in three camps known as Kakuma in northwest Kenya (about 90,000 refugees).
Tens of thousands of additional refugees live without refugee status recognition or humanitarian assistance
in urban areas, particularly in the capital, Nairobi. The conditions in the refugee camps and in the
refugee-congested areas of the capital are very crowded which has led to the easy spread of diseases
(malaria, chickenpox, and measles) and the potential of deadly fires burning out whole sections of the
camp or area. Additionally, the camps are notorious for bandit attacks. Life as a refugee in Kenya is very
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                       PAGE 2


themselves and are entirely dependent on international humanitarian aid.
      In 2002, about 12,000 ethnic Somali Bantu refugees from the Dadaab camps were relocated to
Kakuma in preparation for their eventual permanent resettlement in the United States. The Bantu are
currently the largest group of refugees being resettled into the United States out of Kenya. (See next page
for further information about the Bantu and their resettlement.)
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                          PAGE 3

Sudanese Refugees in Kenya
      The majority of the Sudanese refugees in Kenya are in
the three Kakuma camps in northwest Kenya, about 75 miles
from the Sudan border. Most have lived in the remote
Kakuma camps for more than a decade. Restrictions on their
movement and lack of land for agriculture severely limit the
refugees ability to support themselves, rendering them solely
dependant on international humanitarian aid for survival.
Nearly half of them survive on only one meal per day.
     The Kakuma camp was established in 1992, when                  Unaccompanied Sudanese minors in Kakuma.
some 12,000 un-accompanied Sudanese minors arrived at               Photo: CWS

                                                     the Kenyan border. Later they were joined by another
                                                     30,000 Sudanese fleeing the fighting between the
                                                     government of Sudan and the Sudanese People s
                                                     Liberation Army.
                                                           During 2001, over 3,000 Sudanese young men
                                                     ages 7 to 17 and known as the Lost Boys of Sudan
                                                     were resettled into the United States. For the most part,
                                                     they have made remarkable adjustments to life in the
                                                     United States, finally getting an education and finding
                                                     worthwhile employment. Many other Sudanese young
                                                     men in the same age ranges as these Lost Boys were
                                                     not resettled and remain in the Kakuma camp where
                                                     they await an opportunity to start their lives.
Sudanese young men get cultural orientation before
resettlement. Photo: CWS

Ethiopian and Other Refugees in Kenya
      Several thousand Ethiopians live in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps. But they also account for the
majority of all applicants for refugee status in the capital of Nairobi. Other groups of refugees that live in
Kakuma are from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), Rwanda, Burundi, and
Eritrea (formerly part of Ethiopia).

How Are Disciples Involved in Helping Refugees in Kenya?
      For several years, Week of Compassion has given funds to support the work of Lutheran World
Federation/World Service (LWF/WS) in the Kakuma refugee camp through Action by Churches Together
(ACT). LWF/WS works in areas of water and sanitation, education and teacher training, camp management
and security, food and non-food item distribution, and social services - including conflict resolution,
conflict prevention, peace education, community empowerment, gender equity training, and refugee
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                      PAGE 4

rights training. LWF/WS also assists the local
Turkana community living alongside the
Kakuma camp in an effort to minimize
tension and fights between the refugees and
the local people.
       In 2003, Week of Compassion helped
fund famine relief in Turkana due to the
poor rains that lead to serious food
shortages and lack of water for both
livestock and people. Less than 10% of the
crop was able to be harvested that year.
Assistance to the people was distributed
through churches in the local communities.
     Week of Compassion also assists
Church World Service s work in Kenya.            Food distribution in Kakuma. Photo: CWS
Acting on behalf of all the agencies that
                                                                resettle refugees into the United States
                                                                through the U.S. government s resettlement
                                                                program, Church World Service (CWS) runs
                                                                the Joint Voluntary Agency (JVA) in Nairobi.
                                                                That office does the initial screening of
                                                                refugees in Kenya and all other southern
                                                                African countries, interviewing hundreds of
                                                                refugees each month. Once the initial
                                                                screening is completed, the JVA presents the
                                                                refugee cases to the U.S. Department of
                                                                Homeland Security so the refugees can be
                                                                interviewed by them and a determination
                                                                made about whether or not the refugees will
                                                                be accepted for resettlement into the
                                                                United States. If the refugees are accepted
                                                                for resettlement, the JVA works with other
                                                                agencies to arrange for their cultural
                                                                orientation, medical clearances, and
                                                                transportation to the United States.
                                                                      Out of the refugee cases that are
                                                                accepted for resettlement, Church World
                                                                Service resettles about 10% of the cases,
                                                                with the others being resettled by other
                                                                church and non-church agencies in the
Somali refugees bring interviewed by JVA.                       United States. The Disciples resettle 11% of
Photo: CWS
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                       PAGE 5

the Church World Service cases, with the others being resettled by other protestant denominations.
Refugees that come through the Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries program come from many
different countries. Only a handful come out of Kenya, but in recent years there have been several
Sudanese and Somali Bantu families resettled by the Disciples.

                                       Resettled Sudanese
     Jeffersontown Christian Church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, resettled three Lost Boys of the
Sudan. The minister, Douglas Meister, reported that the church was not prepared for the small amount of
possessions the young men had when they arrived. They came with even less than other refugees that the
church had sponsored in the past. For example, the church bought watches and wallets for them    items
which other refugees had.
      The Sudanese young men were amazed at how many trees there were in Kentucky and how green
things were. When asked about the biggest difference between America and Kenya, the refugees said that
when it rained now, they could still eat. In Kenya they cooked outdoors over an open fire, and when it
rained, they couldn t cook and therefore they didn t eat.

       Disciples have a program called Kids
to Kids which is a way for kids in Disciples
congregations to reach out in mission to
other kids around the world. Many groups
of kids use the Kids to Kids Fill the
Backpack packet to learn about refugee
kids and then send backpacks or money to
help arriving refugees. Kids to Kids funds
were used to buy shoes for a couple of the
  Lost Boys of the Sudan who arrived to
Phoenix, Arizona. After having walked from
the Sudan to Kenya to Ethiopia and back to
Kenya, these young men celebrated their
first Christmas in the United States by        Shoes being presented to Sudanese Youth in Phoenix.
receiving American-style tennis shoes.         Photo: CWS Affiliate in Phoenix

                                               The Bantu
      The Bantu are an ethnic group in Somalia making up about 10% of the population. Their history as a
distinct group began around the turn of the 18th century when their ancestors (from Malawi, Tanzania, and
Mozambique) were taken as slaves by the Sultan of Zanzibar and sold into Somalia. Some were freed after
many years, while others staged uprisings to gain their freedom.
      Hereditary farmers, the Bantu eventually settled into Somalia s arable regions along the Juba River.
Physical differences from other Somalis set them apart and allowed them to be treated as second-class
citizens, preventing them from gaining access to schools, land ownership, and political representation.
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                               PAGE 6

Somali Bantu children.                                      Bantu arrive in Kakuma.
Photo: Lisa Endreson, CWS Affiliate in Minneapolis          Photo: CWS

     In 1991, as civil war came to Somalia, hostile militias
took over the Bantu farms, and thousands fled to Kenya,
where over 130,000 were placed in the Dadaab refugee
camp. Because they never owned the land on which they
farmed, there was no possibility of the Bantu returning to
      After over 10 years in Dadaab, the U.S. government
agreed to resettle 11,800 of the Bantu, but it required that
they be moved to a more secure location than the Dadaab
camp. During the summer of 2002, the Bantu were moved
to the Kakuma camp       a 3-day bus trip for people who
had never been in a motorized vehicle before. In Kakuma
they were interviewed by the JVA and the U.S.                     Bantu with JVA caseworker (holding files).
Department of Homeland Security, given brief cultural             Photo: CWS
orientation classes, and prepared for their transition to life
in the United States.
      In the course of the resettlement process the numbers of these Bantu refugees have grown
substantially. Almost every woman of reproductive age in the group is either breast-feeding, pregnant, or
both. Approximately 21% of this distinct population is currently under the age of five and 29% are
between 5 and 18.
      Because the Bantu have lived rural lives and most have been denied even one day of school, they
face large problems in adjusting to a new life in the United States. Electricity, flush-toilets, running water,
diapers, and modern buildings are unknown to them. They have proven themselves to be hard workers
who are ready to take on any manual labor jobs, but they have major health needs due to malnutrition,
tuberculosis, intestinal problems, and trauma.
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                         PAGE 7

      Because of the special needs of this group of refugees it was decided that they would be resettled
only in a few cities where special effort could be given to their adjustment to life in the United States.
Cases coming through Church World Service are being placed in Phoenix, AZ; Denver, CO; Atlanta, GA;
Louisville, KY; Concord, NH; Buffalo, NY; Rochester, NY; Syracuse, NY; Portland, OR; Columbia, SC;
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX; and Richmond, VA.

                                            Resettled Bantu
                               First Christian Church in Rowlett, Texas, was the first Disciples congregation
                         to resettle a Somali Bantu family. Tom Sellers, a member of that congregation, wrote:
                          Debby Bobbitt, our Outreach Director, simply asked if I would help resettle a
                         refugee family. It was a simple direct question, which I agreed to. The Munyadi
                         family arrived on Labor Day weekend.
                                Debby reported that upon the first appointment to the clinic they learned that
                         the mother, Holiyah, was expecting. They thought she was maybe 2 or 3 months
                         along. They were quite shocked to learn she was due in January and even doubly
                         shocked when she gave birth to a boy in the first part of December! It was fortunate
                         that they happened to have Holiyah s baby shower the weekend before the new
                         baby arrived.
Photo: First Christian
                             Holiyah apparently had never been to a Disciples shower before. And Debby
Church, Rowlett, Texas had a dickens of the time trying to convince the Dad that this was for girls and that
                       he would need to baby sit the boys, at home. They had the traditional cake and
presents and decorations. Hoilyah s cake had a stork on it with a baby hanging in a blanket. Debby told
her that that was how babies came! She looked at Debby like she had just fallen off a turnip wagon. And
all during the shower she could hardly take her eyes off of that stork. It wasn t long until Omar was born.
      Chalice Christian Church in Gilbert, Arizona, is a congregation in formation with 60-some
members including Winter Visitors that meets in a school building. The congregation has heard the call to
refugee resettlement and defined that ministry as an integral part of its identity. Having already resettled an
Amerasian Vietnamese family and a single Iranian man, the congregation agreed to resettle a Somali Bantu
      Judi Edmonds, a member of the congregation, tells of that experience: My neighbor cleaned out her
closet and gave me a purse and a pair of shoes for Halima      the twenty-seven-year-old single mother of
two little daughters who has lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for twelve years     the young woman who
went out each day to gather firewood risking attack or abuse on the way      the Somali Bantu whose
ancestors came out of slavery into second-class citizenship in Somalia    the woman who became a
refugee when war broke out in the 90 s       the woman who became a widow when her discouraged and
depressed husband left her and was subsequently killed       the refugee who arrived in this country two
weeks ago with her two children and half a shopping bag full of belongings.
       So we took the purse and the shoes with us when we went to visit on Sunday afternoon. The
children were shy and quiet. They sat on our laps and licked the lollipops we had brought. With no
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                             PAGE 8

                                    common language, communication occurs largely by pantomime. Using a baby
                                    doll the girls had been given, we pointed out how it opens and closes its eyes,
                                    and taught the words open and closed. Looking around for other things to
                                    demonstrate open and closed, I picked up my purse, opened it and closed it.
                                    Then I asked the young mother if she had a purse. The answer was: No. I went
                                    out and got the purse and shoes. She slipped on the shoes. Then she swung the
                                    purse onto her shoulder and stood up. Smiling broadly she sashayed a couple of
                                    steps. She laughed and opened the purse, examining every section. Female
                                    instinct took over. Now she was a modern American woman! She could shop.
                                    She could fit in. She could look professional at agency appointments and even
Halima.                             eventually job interviews. She ran to the bedroom and found her and the girls
Photo: Chalice Christian Church,    medical cards in a sack and brought them out and placed them in Her Purse.
Gilbert Arizona                     She had taken one more step toward assimilation and independence.
      Other congregations resettling Bantu refugees include Community Christian Church in Tempe,
Arizona, who resettled Halima s brother; First Christian Church in Mesa, Arizona who resettled a family
of 6; Amherst Community Church in Amherst, New York who resettled a family of 4; First Christian
Church in Portland, Oregon who resettled a family of 3 and another family of 8; and Casa View
Christian Church in Dallas, Texas who resettled a family of 3.

                                   Invite a Refugee to Speak to Your CWF
     Consider inviting a refugee who has lived in Kenya prior to being resettled in the United States to
come and speak to your Disciples women about what life was like in a Kenyan refugee camp. RIM would
be happy to recommend possible organizations you could contact in your community to find out if there is
such a refugee near your congregation. See our contact information on the last page.
       There are CWS resettlement affiliates in the following cities that may have resettled refugees out of a
Kenyan refugee camp. In addition, some of the staff from these offices have visited Kakuma. Contact RIM
for information on how to reach these offices.

          Phoenix, AZ                               Grand Rapids, MI                  Portland, OR
          Garden Grove, CA                          Minneapolis, MN                   Lancaster, PA
          Los Angeles, CA                           Greensboro, NC                    Columbia, SC
          Sacramento, CA                            Raleigh, NC                       Bristol, TN
          Denver, CO                                Lincoln, NE                       Knoxville, TN
          New Haven, CT                             Omaha, NE                         Amarillo, TX
          Decatur, GA
                                                    Concord, NH                       Austin, TX
          Chicago, IL
                                                    Highland Park, NJ                 Dallas, TX
          Indianapolis, IN
          South Bend, IN                            Binghampton, NY                   Fort Worth, TX
          Lexington, KY                             Buffalo, NY                       Houston, TX
          Louisville, KY                            Rochester, NY                     Harrisonburg, VA
          Malden, MA                                Syracuse, NY                      Richmond, VA
          Hagerstown, MD                            Columbus, OH                      Seattle, WA
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                           PAGE 9

                            Your Disciples Women/CWF can help refugees and internally displaced persons
                       in Kenya through Week of Compassion and the Disciples Refugee and Immigration
                       Ministries (RIM) program.

                               Support Week of Compassion Efforts in Kenya
                           Through your giving to the Week of Compassion
                     offering you have made possible the funds sent from Week
of Compassion to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and to the Turkana
community around the camp. Your DW/CWF could take a special over-and-above
offering for Week of Compassion to help support these ministries and other relief
efforts in Kenya. Simply send your contribution to Week of Compassion, P.O. Box
1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206 and earmark it for Kenya.

            Support RIM s Resettlement of Refugees Out of Kenya
      Although RIM is located in Disciples Home Missions, the primary funding for RIM comes from Week
of Compassion. Through your Week of Compassion offerings, you are already supporting the resettlement
of refugees out of Kenya. RIM provides emergency assistance to help in the resettlement of refugees
things like an extra month s rent, money for medical and dental expenses, and fees for vocational training.
The Somali Bantu especially need dental work and vocational training. Your DW/CWF could take a special
over-and-above offering for the emergency assistance needs of the Bantu. Simply send your contribution to
Refugee and Immigration Ministries, P.O. Box 1986, Indianapolis, In 46206. Make your check out to
Disciples Home Missions and earmark it for Bantu. RIM will direct your funds to a Bantu family that needs
the extra help.
                                     Resettle a Bantu Family
      If you live in a city where the Bantu are being resettled (see list above), you can join with your local
Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program affiliate office to resettle a Bantu family and
rescue them from the dire conditions of the Kenyan refugee camps. RIM has a manual available that
explains what is involved in resettlement. Basically, congregations agree to:
      =     Welcome the family at the airport and take them to temporary housing
      =     Provide them orientation to their new community
      =     Help them get social security cards and a medical exam within 30 days
      =     Provide what they will need to live for at least 3 months or until they are self-sufficient - things
            like housing, food, clothing, and pocket money
      =     Enroll the children in school
      =     Help the adults find a job
      =     Provide necessary transportation
      =     Help them learn English and/or enroll in English classes
      =     Be their friend
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                       PAGE 10

                                                       Call to Worship
                    Leader:          Let us come to worship the God who saved us from all that has threatened
                                     us since the beginning of our days.
                    People:          We are refugees who have found our home in God.
                    Leader:          Let us come to open ourselves to those who are refugees today.
                    People:          We open our hearts and minds to receive those who come to us as
                                     Jesus who was himself a refugee.

                     Refugee Scripture Readings
                                     Genesis 3:22-24
                                       Genesis 12:1
                                    Genesis 18:1-2, 10
                                     Exodus 12:40-41
                                       Exodus 22:1
                                      Matthew 2:14
                                         Luke 2:7
                                   Luke 24:13-16, 30-31

Leader:         The Bible shows us that we are a pilgrim people forced to go where we did not choose to go.
People:         Adam and Eve were forced from the Garden of Eden and the tree of life.
                (Genesis 3:22-24)
Leader:         The Bible shows us that we are a pilgrim people called out of our old lives into new ones.
People:         God called Abram to leave his father s house and go to a land where God would make of
                him a great nation. (Genesis 12:1)
Leader:         The Bible shows us that we are a pilgrim people who once were strangers in a foreign land.
People:         For 430 years, the people of God lived as captives in Egypt. (Exodus 12:40-41)
Leader:         The Bible shows us that God comes to us in the form of a pilgrim person who had no place
                to lay his head.
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                                     PAGE 11

People:         Mary laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
Leader:         The Bible shows us that God comes to us in the form of a pilgrim people who flee for their
People:          Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and
                remained there until the death of Herod. (Matthew 2:14)
Leader:         The Bible shows us that we are to treat other pilgrim people fairly.
People:         Moses said: You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the
                land of Egypt. (Exodus 22:21)
Leader:         The Bible shows us that when we welcome other pilgrim people, we open ourselves to
People:         When Abraham and Sarah welcomed three strangers at Mamre they learned that they
                would have a child, even though they were advanced in age. (Genesis 18:1-2, 10)
Leader:         The Bible shows us that when we welcome other pilgrim people, we meet the Lord.
People:         Jesus was made known to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as he took bread
                and blessed it. (Luke 24:13-16, 30-31)
Leader:         We continue our pilgrim journey
People:         Welcoming other pilgrims to join us.


                                   Offering Prayer and Benediction
                      God, in the midst of our efforts to accumulate more and more of the
                things we feel we cannot live without, we pause to bring our offering to you
                for your blessing. Make us more fully aware of those persons in Kenya who
                have fled their homes in other countries and wasted years of their lives in
                refugee camps. May they be for us an example of what it is that we truly
                cannot live without - your love and grace, given freely to the entire world. Go
                with us now, into the future, and strengthen our resolve to embrace the unity
                of your people. As we have been welcomed into your love and grace, we go
                to be a welcoming presence to others here and around the world in Christ s
                name. Amen
KENYA STUDY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP                                                           PAGE 12

                                        How To Contact RIM!
                           Please feel free to contact us for any further information
                      you may need, or look us up on the Internet at

                            Refugee and Immigration Ministries
                            Disciples Home Missions
                            Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
                            P.O. Box 1986
                            Indianapolis, IN 46206

                            Jennifer Riggs, Director
                            Linda Williamson, Program Assistant for Refugee Resettlement
                            Bill Culp, Administrative Assistant

                            DHM Toll Free:     1/888-346-2631
                            Direct:            317/713-2643 - Jennifer
                                               317/713-2637 - Linda
                                               317/713-2639 - Bill

                                                  Revised March, 2006

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