Children gather at a UNICEF-supported Child-Friendly Space at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya, one of the largest refugee camps in the world.

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What and where is Kakuma Refugee Camp?

Kakuma is the Swahili word for "nowhere." But for the more than 160,000 refugees and asylum seekers who live in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya, it is their only home.

Established in 1992, the Kakuma camp was originally built to provide the “Lost Boys of Sudan” with humanitarian aid. It is now one of the world’s largest refugee camps, supporting children and families from a number of different countries, including South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Uganda and Rwanda. 

Refugee children fleeing conflict need safe spaces to play, learn and grow – that is where UNICEF steps in

UNICEF provides a range of services to vulnerable children and families at the camp. These include:

  • nutrition
  • health care
  • materials and training for teachers and caregivers to support Early Childhood Development (ECD)
  • Child-Friendly Spaces for learning and play
  • counseling to help reduce the effects of trauma
  • protection from violence and exploitation

UNICEF is working to scale up these services to meet growing needs, while empowering parents and community members to invest in the positive and healthy growth of their children from the earliest years. 

UNICEF has steadily improved ECD access and quality at the camp, but there is more to be done to ensure that classrooms are not congested, and that teachers, parents and community members receive the training and resources they need to properly address the development needs of young children. 

Help UNICEF provide education, health, protection and more for the children of Kakuma Refugee Camp. Your contribution can make a difference. 

Top photo: Children gather at a UNICEF-supported Child-Friendly Space at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya, one of the largest refugee camps in the world. @Njeri Gakuo for UNICEF