Kenya

Kakuma refugee camp: Mother and daughter reunited after 15 years apart

Separated with her mother when she was only two years old, Faiza's maternal grandmother had to step in and take the responsibility of raising her. Now, 15 years later, Faiza is reunited with her long lost mother.

In October 2021 Faiza, a refugee from Ethiopia, arrived at Kakuma refugee camp in search of a better life.

Growing up, her grandmother had raised her as though she was her mother. But when she fell ill, Faiza’s grandmother disclosed to her that her actual mother had gone missing when Faiza was just a small child, and her whereabouts were unknown.

Soon after her grandmother passed away, Faiza found herself living in the care of a relative where she would often look after cattle. This exposed her to danger and hardships, which she told her caregiver but did not receive any reprieve.

In 2020, Faiza received news that her mother had sought refuge in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Surprised and hopeful with the new information, Faiza was determined to reunite with her mother, and in 2021, the long walk to Kakuma began with many others seeking refuge.

"We knew it was dangerous, I knew it was dangerous. But when you have a leopard at your back and the sea in front, you take the sea."

Faiza

Faiza DRC Kenya

Faiza tells her story of hope and longing.

Photo: DRC

Upon her arrival, Faiza was interviewed by a Danish Refugee Council child protection caseworker where she shared her story and her great desire to reunite with her mother.  

Within a short period of time, Faiza’s mother was traced and found in the community. After due diligence from DRC staff, information was verified - and finally, mother and daughter were reunited. Currently, they are living together.

“I’m very happy to spend time with my mother, and whenever I see a DRC staff, I smile because of their efforts to ensure that my mother was traced and found. I am also happy with the psychosocial support that was offered to me.”

Faiza

Through funding from UNICEF, vulnerable children like Faiza have been identified and provided with support through a case management approach, including placing children in alternative care arrangements and provision of material support.

The project, which started in 2019, provides access to child protection services for unaccompanied, separated and vulnerable children in Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps. It also offers mentorship and economic recovery services for refugees.

Faiza Hug DRC Kenya

Faiza hugs her mother after reuniting.

Photo: DRC

So far 1,114 (634 Boys, 480 Girls) out of 1,773 unaccompanied minors and separated children who arrived at the reception centers in 2021 were assessed by child protection case workers. They were taken through a rapid assessment where their immediate needs were addressed including working informally and formally to trace relatives within the community and initiate family reunification.

“We help to provide psychosocial services and education for refugee and migrant children.”

Boniface, DRC caseworker at Kakuma Reception Centre

DRC has also strengthened relations with other agencies on the Interagency Child Protection Working Group, including the Department of Children Services who have been supportive in providing different interventions to children even in situations where there is inter and intra camp/settlement movement of children which requires robust coordination in order to support a child holistically.

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