First Ever TEDx conference in a Refugee Camp

On June 9th at 10AM (GMT+3), Kakuma Refugee Camp will host the first-ever TEDx event at a refugee camp.
250 high-profile guests from around the world will descend on Kakuma to attend the event in person. An additional 5500 refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps will be able to watch the event live through large screenings hosted by FilmAid and other agencies.
FilmAid International in collaboration with other agencies operating in the camp will livestream TEDxKakumaCamp in its entirety in six locations in Kakuma Refugee Camp and four locations in the Dadaab Refugee Complex, ensuring that community members can experience the event live, as it unfolds. FilmAid will mobilize community engagement around TEDxKakumaCamp and the event’s theme “Thrive, a celebration of the resilience, creativity and contribution of refugees.”
TEDxKakumaCamp aligns with FilmAid’s core belief that a community that speaks for itself is a community that can change and heal itself. Alongside the event, FilmAid will capture stories of refugee contributions to the societies that so generously provide them with sanctuary and safety.
FilmAid is honored that two beneficiaries of its media training programs will take the stage as featured speakers.
Aminah Rwimo, 24, is a 2015 FilmAid Media Training alumnus, and a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. After completing FilmAid’s year-long media training course, Aminah launched her own career as a successful filmmaker. Her films have won numerous film festival awards including: best picture, best screenplay, best actress, and most recently Aminah herself won an award for Best Emerging Filmmaker at the IOM Global Migration Film Festival in Geneva for her film “It Has Killed My Mother.” Aminah is currently a FilmAid Media Training assistant teaching over 50 students how to use film to tell their own stories, and advocate for their own needs. Aminah is also hard at work on her second short film script and has founded an independent production company in Kakuma called Exile Key Films.
Akuot Mercy Mareng is a talented musician, outspoken advocate and refugee from South Sudan. In 2017, while on stage in Kakuma performing at a World Refugee Day event, Mercy’s outstanding voice and stage presence drew the attention of FilmAid as well as Kenyan hip hop producers Wyre the Lovechild and Jukali. A short while later FilmAid teamed up with Wrye to launch the Finding a Star initiative which is supported by the US State Department’s Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migration. Mercy’s single “Anavonifanya” was produced and released as part of Finding a Star. FilmAid’s students helped produce a highly successful PR campaign that has helped catapult Mercy into the national spotlight in Kenya with appearances on TV and features in the leading national newspapers. Mercy will be speaking about her experience of forced marriage and her passionate commitment to using her music to advocate for the rights of women and girls.
Other speakers for the day include Turkana Governor, Josphat Nanok, Somali-American model Halima Aden who was born in Kakuma, Pur Biel a South Sudanese athlete and member of the 2016 Refugee Olympic Team, and Nomzamo Mbatha a South African actress.
In addition to the speakers, several renowned musicians will be gracing the stage alongside refugees, academics and other including Gospel artist Mercy Masika, hip-hop innovator Octopizzo, and Sudanese slam poet Emi Mahmoud.
“TEDxKakumaCamp gives refugees like Aminah Rwimo Hortence, a 24 year old filmmaker from Congo, a platform to speak her truth and tell her story. I have known Aminah since she first joined FilmAid’s film training course in 2015. She has inspired me, and I know her talent and tenacity will inspire the world when she speaks at TEDxKakumaCamp”. – Stella Suge, FilmAid Kenya Country Director
“At FilmAid we firmly believe that when young people are provided with the skills and confidence to speak up, and the opportunity to be heard, they are able to make positive changes that the rest of us didn’t dare dream possible. We are excited to provide large-scale screenings of TEDxKakumaCamp in Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camp so the refugee and host community can be inspired by the creativity, courage and contributions of the speakers, especially the four young refugees who will tell their own stories.” – Keefe Murren, Executive Director, FilmAid International
What is a TEDx Talk?
TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. It began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
A TEDx Talk is a showcase for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes. It demands the audience’s attention for a short period of time, decreasing the chance of minds wandering or daydreaming about lunch. Local teams organise events modeled on the TED format (short talks focused on groundbreaking ideas). TEDx has spread like wildfire, and there are currently thousands of TEDx events every year across the world.
About FilmAid
FilmAid was founded by independent filmmakers in 1999 in response to the refugee crisis in Kosovo. After nearly two decades of innovation, FilmAid has become a leader in humanitarian and crisis communications. Using a community-based, and multi-platform approach, FilmAid provides refugees and displaced people with access to life-saving information about their rights, their safety, their health and their future.
Through video, radio, print and digital media campaigns created and distributed in collaboration with refugee communities, FilmAid is able to reach over 500,000 people in refugee camps and urban areas every year. In addition to public information campaigns, FilmAid trains young people in all aspects of storytelling and communications. FilmAid offers year-long film, journalism and photography training courses that empower the next generation of storytellers with the skills they need to advocate for themselves, their community and their right to a future filled with hope.