World Refugee Day: How a Congolese family found a new life in Kenya

They escaped violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2017 — with newly acquired farming skills, their optimism is back

Kika and her family outside their home in Turkana County, Kenya. Photo: WFP/Catherine Natiir

‘If you haven’t crossed the river, don’t insult the crocodile.’

She and her family are among 10 million refugees supported by the World Food Programme (WFP) across the world. In 2019, persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or breakdowns of order forcibly displaced 79.5 million people, including 26 million who sought refuge abroad.

Kika harvests spinach at the communal water pan in Kalobeyei. Photo: WFP/Catherine Natiir

‘Wow — I’m flooded with overwhelming memories of home.’

Farming presented its own challenges. Kika planted sorghum for two seasons with little to show for it. She turned to vegetable farming, trying kale — which failed. With advice from WFP, she started planting cowpeas, then tomatoes and spinach. Today, she earns about US$70 a month selling veg.

Kika prepares ‘ugali’, maize meal, which she serves with stewed meat. Photo: WFP/Catherine Natiir
The meal is an ‘uplifting’ focal point for Kika’s family. Photo: WFP/Catherine Natiir

Learn more about WFP’s work in Kenya



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