In refugee camps, young women turn to self-sufficiency, finally.

For the last year, two young Kenyan women have been hard at work restoring, restoring and reclaiming libraries across Kenya’s numerous refugee camps. Photographer Tracy A. Ryan met them during a visit to Kakuma,…

In refugee camps, young women turn to self-sufficiency, finally.

For the last year, two young Kenyan women have been hard at work restoring, restoring and reclaiming libraries across Kenya’s numerous refugee camps. Photographer Tracy A. Ryan met them during a visit to Kakuma, one of the country’s largest and most complex refugee camps, where she discovered Karjama, a refuge for Somali women whose future had seemingly been taken away by conflict.

“Life is hard for them,” says Sara. “When the violence [there] escalated over two years ago, the government and international agencies began closing all the refugee camps, including Kakuma.” A dropout in school and the loss of hope, Sara’s family decided to leave Kakuma in search of another home. After years of wandering, they found their way to Karjama, a refugee refuge for young Somali women whose futures are suddenly more fragile than ever.

Sara moved to Kirinyaga, a town 50 miles from the refugee camp, to continue her education. “Life there seems easier, I think that’s because there’s a constant flow of resources,” she says. At school, Sara works as a co-editor for Karjama News, a local media outlet, and loves to write. In a country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, Sara seems to have an enviable level of self-sufficiency. The feeling of independence, she says, “makes me feel that I can take any decision I want.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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