Kakuma Got Talent: a stage for youth creativity and ingenuity

Congolese dancers participate in the Kakuma Got Talent Season 8 held last year in Kakuma. Photo Credit: Denise Akun
Congolese dancers participate in the Kakuma Got Talent Season 8 held last year in Kakuma. Photo Credit: Denise Akun

Refugee youth display their expertise in inventive self-expression

(LWI) - In partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), DanChurchAid (DCA) and the Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS), The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) organizes an annual event to provide a platform where youth in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, northwestern Kenya, can display their diverse talents and inspire each other towards hope and opportunities for growth.

“Our families have gone through a lot in search of peace (…) I tried to communicate that through artwork”

Kakuma Got Talent was first launched in 2014 as part of LWF’s effort to nurture young talents and promote cultural diversity. The refugee camp has existed since 1992 and hosts over 200,000 people. Approximately 36 percent of the population are youth.

The annual talent show brings together hundreds of young talented artists from the Kakuma Refugee Camp and the Kalobeyei Settlement. Participants gather for three days of activities where young artists showcase their skills in different categories including music, dance, modelling, poetry, drawings and paintings, and more.

Kakuma Got talent has built my self-confidence. I get to share my artwork and learn from my peers each year I participate.
Emmanuel Tom Jildo, young participant of Kakuma Got Talent

Emmanuel Tom Jildo, a young refugee from South Sudan, was one of the participants in the 2021 talent search held from 15 to 17 December. “Kakuma Got Talent has built my self-confidence.” Jildo added, “I get to share my artwork and learn from my peers each year I participate.”

He had competed in the painting and drawing category and displayed his artistic skills by drawing the image of a woman crossing a river with her child. “It’s an experience mothers go through while trying to seek asylum. This picture depicts resilience and hope; our families have gone through a lot in search of peace and safety, I tried to communicate that through this artwork,” he noted during last year’s competition.

“The talent show is a means of self-expression. The event also empowers the youth within Kakuma to recognize their strengths and transform their art into livelihood opportunities,” says Denise Akun, LWF Communications Officer in Kakuma.

Winners of the competition receive continued support through a mentorship program and training to develop their talents into a sustainable means of generating income. In 2021 there were 23 winners. Viewers can see the latest updates by following the event on Facebook at @KGTcommunityonline and Twitter at @KakumaTalent