Ongoing violent conflict and the persecution of individuals in central and eastern Africa have forced millions of civilians to flee their homes. Tanzania currently shelters over 600,000 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Somalia. Kenya hosts over 260,000 refugees from Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia and Ethiopia. With no end in sight to the violence or conflict driving people from their villages, repatriation is not a safe option. For these reasons, the IRC and the UNHCR asked FilmAid International to extend its programs to Kenya and Tanzania.
In the fall of 2001, FilmAid International launched programming in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, and in 2002 expanded to the camps of the Kibondo District in Tanzania. FilmAid also launches programs in Dadaab Camp, in Kenya, and is home to approximately 210,000 predominantly Somali refugees and other displaced peoples. All three programs have surpassed all expectations, drawing in average audiences of 10,000 people a night in Kenya, and up to 27,000 at a single screening in Tanzania.
FilmAid’s role in this crisis is simple – and critical. They provide life-saving information.
To the new refugees, who arrive in the overcrowded and overwhelming camp half-starved and collapsed from exhaustion, their films help direct them how to get assistance – how to access food, shelter and medical care, how to take care of infants and children suffering from malnutrition, how to access safe drinking water, how to get urgent care for the most vulnerable – children who have arrived alone, the elderly and disabled, those subjected to rape or other violence on the journey.
FilmAid’s refugee community filmmakers make these informational films in the Somali language, within a relevant cultural context, so the information can be readily understood and is perceived as credible.
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