In Kakuma Camp, the Red Cross runs a Tracing Programme to re-unite families who have been separated by war.
SBS Learn
15 Jun 2015 - 3:28 PM  UPDATED 3 May 2016 - 9:54 AM

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The Red Cross keeps records of everyone residing in the Kakuma Camp. Sometimes, after being separated for a long time, it is possible for family members to find each other in Kakuma Camp.

The refugees are given a small plot and are required to build their own shelter. Bahati’s brother Deo lives with his wife and six children in a mud house. Maisara’s sister also lives with Deo’s family. Life is not easy. Although the family can live in relative safety in Kakuma Camp, they exist in poverty stricken circumstances.

They have neither electricity nor water. The women carry plastic containers to the well to collect water for washing and cooking. In Kakuma there are no toys for the children, no school for the teenagers and no employment for the fathers like Deo. The family lives in desperate hope that they may be granted opportunity to leave the camp for a better life. Deo says: "we are not animals; we need to contribute with work."

Deo and his family suffer a deep anguish at being separated from their extended family in Australia because of their own situation and refugee status. While they are proud and happy for Bahati and Maisara and their children, Deo and his family are distraught with their own seemingly hopeless prospects of being granted a visa to come to Australia. 




Task 1: Key Terms

Investigate some key terms that relate to the refugee situation. Write definitions for the following:

Refugee Status 


Task 2: Life as a Refugee

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 14 states:

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. However, for an asylum seeker the process of obtaining official refugee status and a possible visa for resettlement can thwart this right. In Kakuma Camp, the Masudi family has no choice but to live as impoverished refugees. Their life opportunity is severely compromised.

The United Nations states that basic human needs comprise of shelter, clean water, adequate food, basic health and schooling.

Imagine you are asked to visit Kakuma Camp to investigate the existing living conditions in relation to basic human needs, and present a two-part report to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

a. In the first part of the report explain in detail the existing living conditions in Kakuma with specific reference to basic human needs.
b. In the second part of the report, write a detailed suggestion about how access to each basic human need can be improved in Kakuma Camp.


Task 3: Extended Family

Many cultures in the world place great importance on extended family bonds. These bonds may be extremely important to a family that has suffered tragedy, persecution, horror and displacement. When part of a family is issued a visa to move a new homeland, difficulties in resettling may be accentuated by the separation.

The Refugee Council of Australia states:

The settlement experience for many refugees can be a very difficult time with feelings of homesickness, isolation and culture shock compounding people’s abilities to start a new life in Australia. 
Many refugees have experienced extremely traumatic pasts before arriving in Australia. They have often experienced high levels of poverty, low levels of formal education, suffered from the effects of torture and trauma and have low levels or no knowledge of English. Their day-to-day existence before arriving in Australia may have been in a refugee camp. Many may have never rented a house, paid a bill, gone to work or have had any concept of engaging with institutions such as banks, real estate agents or government departments.

Ever since Bahati, Maisara and the children resettled in Australia, the extended Masudi family has been separated.Without telephones or internet in Kakuma Camp, the families have no way of keeping in real contact.

a. Watch the clip a few times to fully understand the hardship the Masudi family is experiencing due to being separated from each other. Given the apparent bonds that Bahati and Maisara have with their siblings, consider the experiences they must have endured when fleeing from Burundi or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

b. Choose either Bahati and his brother Deo, or Maisara and her sister. Explain in a 250-word essay how the political conditions existing in their original countries contributed to the traumatic experiences they shared.


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Reference: The Ipsos Mackay Report

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