The global humanitarian problem is getting worse right before our eyes and every other day there are fresh depressing images of displaced people on the move, carrying the little luggage they could salvage on their heads and backs. Political unrest does not discriminate in terms of uprooting people from their lives and as much as the displaced are able bodied, we’ve also seen heart-breaking pictures and footage of frail grandmas and children being helped along. Africa alone has 20.2 Million displaced people, with Kenya playing host to nearly half a million, most of whom are women and children.
However, as much as we witness the refugee crisis, shake our heads and sympathize, we immediately move on with the mind that they’re someone else’s problems. A humanitarian organization somewhere will sort them. And sure enough, there are humanitarian organizations like the UNHCR who do a lot to contain the refugee situation. And to some extent it is understandable why the general population would feel helpless because there have not been any obvious mechanisms through which to help.
Not anymore. The UNHCR has launched the LuQuLuQu campaign, a program through which we Africans can own our refugee problem and shape the narrative of refugees and their fate ourselves. We as the general public and corporate bodies can now also be able to take part in contributing funds to help them re-shape their ambitions and build their lives. LuQuluQu seeks to make use of the African spirit of togetherness that is inherent in our culture. A spirit that promotes sharing of resources, sharing responsibility and caring for one another.
A long standing perception has been that these people are just seated in camps, whiling away time and waiting for handouts. Far from it. These are people with potential for great careers and family, and they can play a huge role in contributing to society if given a chance. They’re people with high capabilities which they can put to use were it not for the fact that they were uprooted from their normal lives through no fault of their own.
The UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) has been in operation for 65 years and has been mostly funded by Governments and private sector. In the recent years however, there has been a steady decline in funding to Africa especially because one, the problem is escalating and getting more expensive to contain and two, countries that previously funded refugee programs now have refugees of their own. As displacement of people continues to affect different parts of the world, these countries now find refugees even at their doorstep.
The LuQuLuQu campaign has been launched in 6 African countries, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal. Here in Kenya, it is being driven by popular influencers Mercy Masika, Pinky Ghelani, Amina Abdi and Biko Zulu whose heart wrenching story of a refugee’s journey from DRC to Kenya you can read here.
To be part of the LuQuluQu community and be able to drive ownership of the African refugee narrative, you can make your donations through the online donation page donate.unhcr.org/luquluqu or Paybill number 329378, account name LuQuLuQu.