East Africa: The untold story
December 8, 2011 by Heidi lehmann
|Dahiro Ibrahim Ahmed fled the drought and arrived in Kenya with her eight children. The IRC helps protect refugee women like Dahiro from abuse and sexual violence during times of crisis. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC|
At the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya — where the International Rescue Committee provides lifesaving services to refugees fleeing the drought and famine in Somalia — there has been a four-fold increase in reports of sexual violence since the start of the crisis in June.
The stories I’ve heard from the women my team serves there are sadly similar. After walking miles in the scorched desert, often with malnourished children on their backs, they arrived at the refugee camp expecting a safe haven. Yet, the danger continued and they were targeted with sexual violence.
The IRC is committed to providing security and support for these women, and other refugees around the world whose lives and communities have been shattered by conflict or disaster.
The IRC is the only global humanitarian aid organization with a team focused specifically on ending violence against women and girls. Our experts develop innovative strategies to combat violence against women wherever we work.
In Kenya, we recently opened a Women and Girls’ Wellness Center, which helps women who have fled the drought and famine get safe access to basic necessities such as health care. We’re also providing counseling for survivors of sexual assault and outreach services so women and girls know where to go for help.
Heidi Lehmann leads the IRC’s work protecting women and girls from sexual violence during conflict and disaster.
Donate Now: Your tax-deductible donation will provide support to all of the IRC’s programs in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities. And now, through our matching gift challenge, your gift will provide twice as much support to people in need wherever we work.
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