Children play at the Huruma refugee camp in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photographer: Boniface Mwangi/Bloomberg News)

Davos 2019: This Co-Chair Is A Refugee Who Now Empowers The Displaced In Kenya

Once the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting ends on Friday, one of its co-chairs will return to a camp that’s home to over 185,000 refugees.

Mohammed Hassan Mohamud, who fled a war in Somalia as a child, was raised at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya for over two decades and is now its zonal chairman. He wants to remind the world of the plight of the millions displaced by conflict each year. “I have come here to remind leaders that they have a responsibility to the vulnerable people at the edge of society.”

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Mohamud wants to change the narrative of refugees. As founding curator of the Kakuma Hub—a network of young people displaced by conflict and instability in neighbouring countries—he helps to service the needs of such people through activities, including computer skills training. “It’s about going from a victim mentality to one of empowerment and engagement.”

Temporary solutions to the refugee crisis, according to him, are flawed. “People want to improve camps. They want to build livelihood in them," he said in an interaction with BloombergQuint at Davos, Switzerland. “Refugee camps are wrong, they aren't ethical or sustainable.”

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He also sought the participation of the private sector. “Private sector needs to see the refugees not as a burden to society, but realise their hidden potential and see them as values.”