It’s now just over a week since we returned from Kakuma refugee camp. It’s been a harrowing time due to family circumstances but it has also really made me think. We had Tommy for the day yesterday and despite the challenges that he has to face with his little arm he also has to have an operation on his hips which will result in him being in plaster BUT we are so lucky – he is seen by medical professionals, his care is covered by the NHS, he is surrounded by support. Mum is now in a residential dementia care unit but again, her every need is catered for.
Last week I saw children who didn’t have material possessions, many didn’t have parents around as they had been ‘sent on’ to Kakuma as unaccompanied minors. I did however, see lots of children who were loved, they might have been hungry, dirty and without shoes but there was evidence of real love.
I saw a young teacher sit with a very small child asleep next to him as she was lost and didn’t know how to get back to her mother.
I think that one of the hardest things as a parent or grandparent is to be unable – never unwilling, just desperately unable to provide what your children need. We saw a woman battling the authorities to get her children into a school, we saw a child with ‘my first bag’ which broke my heart as it was torn and dirty but had the words ‘my first bag’ written in felt pen. We saw children begging for water, waiting in line for a cup of watery porridge. Don’t get me wrong I’m not criticising these parents or the NGOs working with them – far from it – I’m in total awe of their resilience and the love that is show. BUT no one – should have to live like they do – it’s cruel. Not to mention those children who are ‘unaccompanied’.
It’s impossible to sum up the harsh realities of life in a refugee camp, all that they have is each other and hope. The day to day struggle with everything they have to face is one that is impossible to describe. Imagine if this was your walk to school everyday.
I’m not apologising for yet again asking for your support – these people need it. If you can spare just a couple of pounds we can build another classroom – we have £3800 but need £5200 – we will keep working for this and welcome any support. (link to Just giving site below) I’m happy to work with schools, talk in assemblies, send you images – we just need to do something. We aren’t asking for huge donations just a couple of pounds will help. Thank you to all of you who have already supported us. I will have a stall selling postcards and images at The Barnsley Teaching and Learning Festival at Darton College on 13th April so hope to see some of you there.