BUZZKILL GOES TO KENYA
On May 8, 2012, BUZZKILL Foundation director, Bryant Barr, embarked on a trip to the Kakuma refugee camp with an amazing team of individuals working together to support the cause of Nothing But Nets. The team included Elizabeth Gore (Vice President, UN Foundation), Chris Helfrich (Director, Nothing But Nets), Tim Gray (Editor-in-chief, Variety, Inc.), Brian Gott (Publisher, Variety, Inc.), Audra Gott (Occupational therapist), Serinda Swan (Actress), Ryan Allis (Tech Entrepreneur) and Michael Muller (Photographer). The team started the trip in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, where they met with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP). Each non-governmental organization (NGO) briefed the team on their work in Kenya, and in the broader region of East Africa. For more information about Bryant’s trip to Kakuma, watch our video below, click on the photo, statistics and blog post links to the right and continue reading below!
On the second day of the trip the group flew the short one and a half hour flight to Kakuma, landing on a dirt strip in an open field. Children from the local community lined up at the fences, ran across the airfield and watched in anticipation as the plane landed and unloaded. The UNHCR officials on the ground in Kakuma gave a quick brief of the current situation where almost 2,000 new refugees are arriving at the camp from Sudan and South Sudan each month. At the current rate, the camp will be over capacity by August, 2012. UNHCR aims to equip each new arrival with their basic food needs, basic shelter needs and mosquito bed nets. Their malaria nets are vital to the protection and health of each family, child and person at the camp. With the help of organizations like the BUZZKILL Foundation and Nothing But Nets, malaria has dropped from the biggest killer of refugees in Africa to the fifth highest killer. There is still a lot of work to be done though, as one child dies every 60 seconds in Africa.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BUZZKILL & KAKUMA?
While at Kakuma, BUZZKILL Foundation director Bryant Barr had the opportunity to play basketball with several refugees on one of the few basketball courts in the camp. “Sport is the ultimate equalizer,” described Barr, “It does not matter if you are black or white, rich or poor, refugee or not. When you get on the court or field, everything falls away and it’s one person against the other.” The thousands of children and teenagers at the camp have very little to do. Only 34% of children are fortunate enough to attend one of the packed schools. The other 66% have to find something else to keep them busy. While the focus of BUZZKILL is to help with malaria prevention, we understand that sports is a vehicle to make struggles, pain and suffering go away, if not only for a brief period of time. So, our next initiative is to raise $50,000 for Kakuma, which will fund the creation of one or two basketball courts, sports equipment and more malaria bed nets. Help us as we pursue this goal and provide the people of Kakuma with hope!