Remembering Refugees

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Photos courtesy Amanda Brown and Deema Aloun The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has taken in nearly 620,000 refugees from across the Middle East. Young Palestinian refugees smile for a photo after a game of badminton at an all-girls school in the Al-balqa neighborhood of Amman, Jordan.
Photos courtesy Amanda Brown and Deema Aloun
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has taken in nearly 620,000 refugees from across the Middle East. Young Palestinian refugees smile for a photo after a game of badminton at an all-girls school in the Al-balqa neighborhood of Amman, Jordan.

Confronting the Syrian plight

As a scholar of refugee rights, one who has studied these issues on five continents, in seven countries and at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters, there is rarely a day that goes by when I am not reminded of the faces that have made the refugee crisis a tragic reality for me.

The first face I see is that of a young Somali refugee. I can still see her lying on a thin cot in a musty dorm room at Joyland School for the Physically Disabled in the city of Kisumu, Kenya.

I was only 19 at the time, and she was close in age, maybe 15 years old.

She was one of the countless people forced to flee Somalia, a country that has been in perpetual conflict throughout my entire lifetime.

The young woman lived for awhile in the largest refugee camp in the world, called Dadaab, located outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

Due to the lack of adequate health care in the camp and an injury that led to infection, the young woman lost part of her right leg.

As an amputee, she was sent to Joyland, where she joined 700 other students with physical disabilities. Some were Kenyan, many others were refugees, like this young woman, from Somalia, or perhaps from South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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