Kenya: UNHC for Refugees High Level Influencer Leanne Manas Impressed by the Resilience of Refugees

PRETORIA, South Africa, March 29, 2018/Leanne Manas, multiple award winning TV presenter and news anchor on SABC’s Morning Live, radio host, MC and High Level Influencer for UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency is in Kenya this week on mission to Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Kakuma Refugee Camp is home to over 180,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan, Somalia and the Great Lakes Region of Africa. This is Manas’ first mission as a UNHCR High Level Influencer and plays a key role in advocating the values of the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Africa wide LuQuLuQu Tribe which was launched in October 2017 in several cities across the African continent.

The LuQuLuQu Tribe aims to build a social movement across the continent to mobilize individuals, and business of varying sizes to take collective responsibility to support refugees on the African continent. The social movement is centered on the African philosophy of “Ubuntu” and “Ujamaa”, the Swahili word for community – that embodies the values of caring for one another, inherent to African culture and belief.

The LuQuLuQu Tribe asks all people especially the hundreds of millions of Africans living on the continent, to take ownership of the refugee and displacement problem through simple everyday philanthropic actions, to promote self-reliance and independence, and in so doing, empower refugees.

The essence of the LuQuLuQu Tribe is to engage ordinary citizens and corporates to redefine the existing image of Africa’s displacement crisis, and create a new image of the African refugee – one of self-reliance and empowerment.

On her mission to Kakuma Refugee Camp, Manas visited UNHCR supported programmes and engaged first-hand with refugees to gain a better understanding of the plight of refugees on the continent. She visited livelihood projects aimed at helping women and medical facilities providing healthcare services to refugees. She also visited entrepreneurs in the camp, Peace Primary School and refugees involved in commercial farming.

“One thing we can’t forget is that we are part of a bigger continent, and a continent that also needs our help,” says Manas.

“Leanne Manas’ exceptional journey to Kakuma in the context of UNHCR’s LuQuLuQu Tribe helps put the spotlight on one of the worst refugee crisis on the continent. It shows fellow Africans how they can be part of the search for solutions” said Raouf Mazou, UNHCR’s Representative to Kenya.

“I’ve met some incredible people. As difficult as life is here in the camp and believe me they have absolutely nothing, there seems to be this uplifting way of life here, where people are just trying to find hope where there is no hope. And it’s really been an incredible journey” said Manas.

As at the end of 2016 nearly 68 million people who have been forced out of their homes globally – approximately 76 per cent are women and children. Every minute nearly 20 people are forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution. Approximately 30% of those forcibly displaced are hosted on the African continent.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this and I know I am returning with a new pair of eyes to view the world,” said Manas.

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