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AVSI/ The project to transform refugees into teachers

Dadaab refugee camp  (Infophoto) Dadaab refugee camp (Infophoto)

The first time that I came to Dadaab, I had decided not to speak about religion and cultural traditions, but it was very difficult to teach without referring to those themes. With time, I realized that the only way to have a relationship with these people was to look at what had changed my own life. The moment I began to do this, I felt freer to relate with them.

What changed your life?

It was someone who looked at me and helped me to recognize my uniqueness and my value. It was not something complicated, but just a human gaze. Refocusing on this allowed me to have a starting point for looking at the Somali refugees the same way. I understood that what was important was not whether or not we spoke of cultural differences, but that both myself and the Somali refugees could find an answer for what the heart of every man desires.

Lastly, a question about the famine in East Africa: Are there still victims or has the situation improved?

I have not seen the real circumstances of the situation in Somalia in person, but from my point of observation in Dadaab, I can say that there are masses of refugees arriving at the camp every day. The situation of insecurity is also connected to the military side of things, as Kenya and Uganda recently sent troops over the border. It is probable that the Somali population is escaping towards Dadaab for this reason as well.

(Pietro Vernizzi)



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