Dancers from Kakuma refugee camp in national dance competition

Gobole dancers on stage. Photo: LWF/ L. Hernander
Gobole dancers on stage. Photo: LWF/ L. Hernander

After successfully taking part in the the regional Eldoret Dancing Competitions, a dance group from Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya is going on to the Sakata auditions, a national Citizen TV dancing competition. Lennart Hernander, LWF Country Representative in Kenya-Djibouti explains why everyone's so pleased.


LWF Kenya-Djibouti is very proud and happy that Gobole, a dance group supported by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Kakuma refugee camp, is to take part in a national dance competition. After passing the Eldoret Regional Dancing Competitions audition in Kenya, the group has been selected to take part in the national Sakata auditions in the capital, Nairobi, which began on 15 July. Sakata is a national Citizen TV dance competition. If Gobole are successful and make it to the final competition, they could win the main prize of one million Kenyan shillings (about USD10,000).

In addition to the potential prize money, the success of the group is a huge motivation for them and for all young refugees in Kakuma refugee camp – refugees who are gifted, creative, skilled and hardworking.

More than 182,000 refugees live in Kakuma, more than 70 percent having fled the violence in South Sudan. Originally established in 1992 for unaccompanied children from South Sudan, so-called “lost boys”, the camp is now home to refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, as well. The LWF is providing primary education, early childhood development, child protection and sustainable livelihoods programs.

The success of Gobole, to us, is also a result of the increased recognition of and focus on supporting talent, performing arts and cultural activities in Kakuma. Last year, the LWF started the extremely successful “Kakuma’s got talent” show. Children and teenagers took part in this competition of singing, dancing and performance. Our plan is to run it once more and teach the refugees to run it themselves in 2016. Interest is high, with young people planning and rehearsing for weeks. Cultural activities are normally seen as unimportant in the camp but for the young people, they make all the difference.

In 2014, a youth group supported by the LWF drafted a proposal for a cultural activity focusing on protection. It suggested addressing protection issues through theatre and film, and was selected for funding by the Global UNHCR Youth initiative Fund earlier this year.

For us in LWF, it is wonderful to see all this talent and creativity unfold.


Lennart Hernander is the LWF Country Representative in Kenya-Djibouti



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.