Kenya set for a walk to highlight plight of African refugees

According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), hundreds of participants are expected to take part in the public walk dubbed "Step for Safety" to highlight the dire living conditions of populations displaced by conflicts and natural calamities across Africa. Image courtesy: UNHCR
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), hundreds of participants are expected to take part in the public walk dubbed “Step for Safety” to highlight the dire living conditions of populations displaced by conflicts and natural calamities across Africa. Image courtesy: UNHCR

The Kenyan capital of Nairobi will on Sunday hold a public walk to raise awareness on the plight of African refugees grappling with myriad challenges like poverty and social exclusion, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.

According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), hundreds of participants are expected to take part in the public walk dubbed “Step for Safety” to highlight the dire living conditions of populations displaced by conflicts and natural calamities across Africa.

“Throughout my work I have heard countless harrowing testimonies of people forced to flee their homes because of a number of circumstances-war, violence, persecution or food insecurity,” said Needa Jehu-Mazou, Head of UNHCR Private Sector Partnerships Africa.

“During their journeys, they are often confronted by difficult choices. Step for Safety sheds light on these journeys and offers hope to the individuals who made these difficult choices far away from home,” she added.

Kenyans from all walks of life, celebrities, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps will join hundreds of refugees from 13 African countries to participate in the inaugural walk in support of displaced persons.

UNHCR has organised the walk under its LuQu LuQu campaign that seeks to harness Africa’s time-honored traditions of hospitality and brotherhood to provide safety nets for vulnerable groups like refugees.

Africa hosts the highest number of refugees in the world estimated at 24 million and their plight has worsened against diminishing support from overseas donors.

Kenya alone hosts an estimated 450,000 refugees who have fled turmoil and natural disasters in the neighboring countries.

The public walk for displaced persons aims to rally political leaders, policymakers, philanthropists, business executives and grassroots campaigners towards support for refugee causes.

UNHCR said that participants will have an opportunity to walk the steps of displaced persons at an experimental simulation center where registration, distribution of food and shelter is conducted.