Kenya’s Kakuma camp will host world’s first TEDx in a refugee camp

Nairobi, Kenya CNN  — 

The first ever TEDx event in a refugee camp will be held at the Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya on Saturday June 9.

Kakuma is home to over 186 000 refugees from 14 countries and at the TEDx event former and current refugees will come together to share stories of resilience and inspiration with a global audience.

Kakuma, a small town in North West, Kenya will receive more than 250 high profile guests at an event that will be streamed all over the world.

“We want the world to experience the phenomenal lives that the refugees are living’ said TEDx Kakuma Camp co-curator Melisa Flemming. “And we hope to change the narrative about refugees. It’s no longer a story of surviving but also thriving, there is so much happening here. There is so much talent.”

Read more: TEDx connects Africans

They mostly come from Somalia, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Uganda and Rwanda, according to the UNHCR.

World class stage

Speakers at the event include Pur Biel, the 23-year-old Sudanese runner who arrived in the camp as a child and in 2016 participated in the first Refugee Olympic team, Mercy Aukot, a Sudanese social worker, Aminah Rwimo an international award-winning Congolese film-maker as well as the first hijabi model to grace fashion’s top runways, Halima Aden.

“We have refugee speakers who have never spoken on this kind of a global platform before,” said co-organizer Dana Hughes. “They’ve really started to believe in themselves. It’s been incredible to watch them gain confidence to come to the point where they can share their stories on a world-class stage.”

The speakers will explore the theme ‘Thrive,’ which is also about how refugees can change, not only their lives, but also the communities in which they live.

“We chose Kakuma because it is a representation of the old and the new,” said Flemming.

Saturday’s event will be held in a specially-erected tent venue in the forecourt of a Kakuma Camp school.

Thirty-eight tonnes of equipment had to be transported to the remote site by a convoy of trucks amid heavy flash floods , UNHCR said.

Read more: TEDx connects Africans