• September 2012

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    September 2012

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    I can’t stay in Kenya and I can’t go home. I need to be somewhere else, where I can be free.” 

    –Young Ethiopian woman in Nairobi

    Young and Displaced

    Displaced youth are a highly vulnerable population in both urban and camp settings, as two recent Women's Refugee Commission reports illustrate.

    In Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, young refugees face many barriers to earning an income and struggle to make ends meet. They are subject to harassment from police and other violence and have limited access to markets and jobs. Young men and women told us that education and training, as well as personal security, are their highest priorities. Our report Young and Restless: Harnessing the Economic Resilience of Displaced Youth in Nairobi reveals their perspectives and offers strategies to improve their prospects.

    Meanwhile, in the Sheder and Aw Barre refugee camps near Jijiga, Ethiopia, adolescent girls from Somalia face violence and exploitation on a daily basis. They are at risk of early marriage and pregnancy, and few are able to stay in school. Read our report In Search of Safety and Solutions to learn more about the challenges they face and our recommendations to protect and empower them.

    Strong Girls, Powerful Women

    What would it be like to have to leave your home, your community, your country? What if you are a girl hitting puberty and have to adjust to new people, new culture, new practices? What if your family depends on you to take care of them? Find out by walking in the footsteps of a refugee girl. Follow Amina’s story


    Last month we reported on the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and our call for the United States to sign on to this very important agreement. This week is the fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention, and today the Women's Refugee Commission and the Permanent Mission of Australia to the UN hosted a panel discussion on ensuring the Convention is working for refugee women and children. Speakers included Peter Versegi, Minister-Counsellor for AusAID at the Australian Mission to the UN; Udo Janz, Director of the UN Refugee Agency in New York; Saowalak Thongkuay, Regional Development Officer for Disabled Peoples' International Asia-Pacific Region; and Emma Pearce, who leads the WRC’s disability program.

    Learn more.


    Florence“I engage women by understanding their needs,” said Florence Ringe. “Then I prioritize their needs and respond to the immediate things which may be hindering their business or livelihood development, such as family conflicts, lack of basic needs—especially food, children’s education, health concerns, domestic violence and harmful cultural beliefs and practices.”

    For over eight years, Florence has supported more than 10,000 people affected by conflict and living in camps in northern Uganda, helping them engage in income-generating activities to develop sustainable livelihoods. Read more about Florence here.

    As part of our Peril or Protection: Making Work Safe campaign, we are featuring stories of successful initiatives that are helping women find safe work. Be sure to check the web page regularly for other features, including a blogger series cosponsored by AidSource. And get your camera ready for our upcoming "Envisioning Safe Livelihoods" photo contest, launching September 24!

    Join the conversation on Twitter at #SafeLivelihoods.


    Jessica Jones, Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Women's Refugee Commission, is quoted in a front-page New York Times article, “Young and Alone: Facing Court and Deportation,” which discusses the growing number of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States. Jessica’s statement was selected as the Times’ “Quotation of the Day.”

    Michelle Brané, director of detention and asylum, is quoted in a NBC News investigative report on the plight of immigrants detained in an Alabama jail, which also cites our research into human rights abuses at the notorious facility.

    Michelle was also featured on NPR’s Latino USA, discussing the case of Encarnacion Bail Romero, a Guatemalan immigrant whose son was adopted by an American couple against her will.