The Kakuma Refugee Camp on the Kenyan border of southern Sudan was founded in 1991 for approximately 25,000 former child soldiers from Sudan, often known as the “lost boys.” Within this city of refugees sits the Safe Haven, an initiative of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
Currently beyond capacity, the Safe Haven serves a vulnerable population – unaccompanied women and children, many of whom are victims of sexual and gender-based violence. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA director Jesuit Father Michael Evans, visited this work in March 2010, reflecting on his visit and experiences for Jesuit Refugee Service’s Voices.
“The camp is now bursting with 85,000 refugees living there, and a Kakuma II is being planned — and the JRS extended team has grown to sixteen. Along with continued pastoral care, dozens of trauma counselors have been trained over the years. However, the new work now includes a safe house for vulnerable women and children; the care of refugees with physical, mental, and emotional challenges; and outreach to those who cannot make it to the JRS Centers.”