Icoke Ventures, a social enterprise that aims to bridge the marketing gaps for refugee creatives in Kakuma Refugee Camp, hosted a one-day forum aimed at welcoming refugee creatives, artisans, fashion designers, musicians, writers, and more, to exhibit and expose their talents to the outside market. This gathering aimed to foster collaboration, learning, and empowerment among talented individuals facing unique challenges.
The event had 60 participants engaged in different activities such as panels, music shows, fashion runways, among others. The emcees of the event were Mc Binzo and Peace Muzaliwa and the event was organized with partnership with local organizations like SoundForLife, Kilbri, ADYI and others who joined part of the Organizing Committee of the Forum.
Panel Discussion: Co-Creating Pathways for Learning, Livelihoods and Dignity
The panel included a diverse range of individuals who shared their inspiring stories and insights. The panel was moderated by Noel Deng, Icoke Communications Officer, joined by Biclaire Hota and Sam, both fashion designers, Sudi Omar, a refugee media personality, Samuel Binja, a social entrepreneur and founder of a non-profit organization in Kakuma, and Afisa, a talented musician based in the refugee camp.
Key highlights of the panel:
- Samuel Binja emphasized the importance of resilience for refugee social entrepreneurs. He shared his personal struggle of learning English and finding employment upon his arrival in the camp nine years ago. Through determination and resilience, he eventually secured a job in a small dressmaking shop. Samuel also highlighted the significance of the refugee community supporting one another by fostering a culture of learning and skill acquisition.
- Sudi Omar acknowledged the multiple challenges faced by refugees, such as limited resources, including food and money, and fewer opportunities. She stressed her role in sharing positive stories that showcase how refugees utilize their limited resources to create meaningful outcomes.
- Afisa, compared life in the camp to a daily football match, where one must strategize and score points to progress. He expressed the need for exposure and platforms outside Kakuma to showcase and sell his music. Afisa highlighted the positive impact of pursuing music as a career, an inspiration, and an educational tool within the refugee community.
- Biclaire Hota, a talented fashion designer living with a disability, shared her journey of personal growth. She firmly believed that the power of the mind was instrumental in her achievements. Biclaire’s mission centered on sharing her experiences with others facing similar challenges and providing them with the necessary support.
The creative individuals represented at the event collectively concluded that it is time for the community to come together to solve their own problems, rather than relying solely on international organizations or constantly contemplating resettlement. They also expressed a need for professional training to learn how to effectively market and monetize their creative work.
Other Creative Day activities:
- The event featured captivating performances by local musicians, including Mlay, King Classic, and Afisa, who enthralled the audience with their incredible talent.
- A runaway walk showcased the impressive creations of various creatives.
- Attendees had the opportunity to admire and acquire unique products, such as home décor crafted from recycled bottles by Kelly; stylish bags designed by Adele; neck pieces created by Mildred; and stunning picture portraits skillfully captured by talented photographers Chox, Gleezy, Raiya, Touches, and Daniel.
- The event spotlighted two talented youths who showcased their skills in painting portraits using acrylics and ballpoints.
The event fostered a vibrant marketplace, enabling these talented creatives to sell their items to one another and to invited guests, creating a dynamic atmosphere of support and appreciation.