About TEDxKakumaCamp

TEDxKakumaCamp offers a different lens into the reality of life as a refugee, away from the images of devastation and suffering, and towards stories of resilience, of contribution, of creativity.

Stories that uplift and inspire not just the communities that host them but the entire world. The theme, Thrive, supports our belief that empowered refugees can shape a peaceful and tolerant future of our world.

Speakers will include current and former Kakuma Camp refugees as well as international experts and artists who wish to make the world a better place for people forced to flee their homes.
TEDxKakumaCamp will be the first TEDx event hosted in a refugee camp, with refugees, and also for refugees. It is curated by Melissa Fleming and Dana Hughes with support from UNHCR and volunteer teams.
TEDxKakumaCamp will take place on Saturday, 9 June 2018, and will be livestreamed. Please check back on this site for additional information about the livestream in the lead up to the event.

TED is a nonprofit that has, over the last ten years, developed into the most important global platform for disseminating knowledge and ideas globally, in the form of high-profile events and filmed talks. You may have probably already watched some TED talks on the organization’s own site (www.ted.com), or on one of the many other digital channels that make them accessible in multiple languages to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
One of TED’s most successful initiatives is its program called TEDx, whereby local teams organize 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.

Kakuma Camp

Kakuma Camp lies in the heart of Turkana County, in northwestern Kenya. It was established in 1992 to serve Sudanese refugees and has expanded ever since to take in people fleeing war from across Africa.

Currently, the small city of thatched roof huts and mud-brick shelters hosts around 185,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, the DRC, Eritrea, Uganda and Rwanda. Nearby, an innovative model settlement – Kalobeyei – is being built, where refugees share services, engage in farming and incubate businesses together with the host community.

TEDxKakumaCamp Speakers

Halima Aden
Fashion Model
20-year-old Halima Aden is the first “hijabi model” and a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. She travels internationally, speaking at universities and various events about the importance of inclusion and acceptance.
Mercy Akuot
Community Worker
South Sudanese
When she was only 16, Mercy Akuot was married off against her will, to an elderly man. She escaped the forced union and now advocates for women’s rights and supervises a women and girls empowerment program in the camp.
Pur Biel
South Sudanese
Pur Biel fled to Kenya at age 10 and grew up in Kakuma camp. He competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics as a member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team,
running in the 800-meter event. His inspiring story illustrates the resilience,
talent and determination of refugees.
Georgina Goodwin
Georgina Goodwin is a documentary photographer specializing in social and environmental issues in Africa.
Mary Nyiriak Maker
Teacher, Student
South Sudanese 
Mary Nyiriak Maker is a firm believer in the power of education as a transformative tool for peace building and rebuilding lives. She found normalcy and hope through education after fleeing South Sudan’s conflict.
Nomzamo Mbatha
Actress, Model 
South African
Nomzamo Mbatha is famous for playing "Moratiwa" in the South African romantic comedy, Tell Me Sweet Something. She is also a High-Profile Supporter of the UNHCR fundraising campaign, LuQuLuQu.
Josphat Nanok
Governor, Turkana County
Governor Josphat Nanok, who also chairs Kenya's Council of Governors, is a firm believer in the refugee response model taking root in Kalobeyei settlement. This new approach brings together government, business and civil society partners to create better conditions for refugees and host communities alike, in part by fostering employment and economic growth.
Henok Ochalla
Henok Ochalla was the project manager for the development of Kalobeyei settlement in Kakuma. He will share insights gained from working for UNHCR for more than 20 years, on why moving from a camp model to a settlement approach is the future for empowering refugees.
Hortence Aminah Rwimo
Aminah Rwimo, 24, is an award winning filmmaker, passionate about telling refugee stories, especially those that empower women. She tackles tough topics affecting refugees and aspires to tell stories that have global impact.
Apurva Sanghi
Dr. Apurva Sanghi is the World Bank's former
lead economist for East Africa. He spearheaded a groundbreaking study that has been instrumental in the planning and implementing of the new Kalobeyei settlement.
Paul Slovic
Professor of Psychology
Paul Slovic is a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, where he studies human judgment, decision making, and the psychology of risk. His recent work examines "psychic numbing" and
the failure to respond to mass human tragedies.
Riya William Yuyada
Gender and Peace Activist
South Sudanese
Former refugee, Riya William Yuyada is a young South Sudanese woman with a big passion for gender equality and peace in South Sudan. 
A former refugee, she returned to South Sudan and founded Crown the Woman-South Sudan, an organization whose mission is to empower girls and women. She is also a co-founder of Play for Peace South Sudan, an initiative promoting peace through games.


Mercy Masika
Gospel Musician

Gospel musician, Mercy Masika, uses her talent to advocate for more support for Africa's displaced. She is a supporter of UNHCR's fundraising campaign, LuQuLuQu.

Hip-hop artist and activist

Hip-hop artist and activist, Octopizzo, works with refugee artists in Kenya and the region to highlight their capabilities and showcasing their talents. His “Refugeenius” project featured a collaboration with over 20 Refugees from Kakuma & Dadaab Refugee camps.

Emi Mahmoud
Slam poet

Emi Mahmoud is a UNHCR High-Profile Supporter who uses spoken word to raise awareness of the global refugee crises, and the millions affected. 


The event will take place under a tent at a school in Kakuma Camp, with an audience of refugees as well as a number of high-profile guests from Nairobi and beyond.

It will also be livestreamed on large screens at Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps, allowing thousands more refugees to watch along. TEDx viewing parties around the world will bring the event to a global audience. All talks will be filmed and released online. 

TEDxKakumaCamp has been made possible thanks to the help of many individuals.


TEDxKakumaCamp is made possible by the generous support of many organizations

Our Team

TEDxKakumaCamp has been made possible thanks to the help of our Team
Organizers / Curators:
Melissa Fleming, Dana Hughes
UNHCR Senior advisors:
Raouf Mazou, Tayyar Sukru
Needa Jehu-Mazou
Organizing team:
Sybella Wilkes, Kate Otega, Catherine Wachiaya
Technical team:
Edith Champagne, Arnold Temple
Social Media:
Gisella Lomax
TED advisor:
Bruno Giussani
Media & Publicity:
Yvonne Ndege
Speaker coaches:
Abigail Tenembaum, Briar Goldberg, Claire Kennedy, Katerina Biliouri, Michael Weitz, Nassim Assefi, Sybella Wilkes
For further information on TEDxKakumaCamp and how to be involved,
please contact us on: info@tedxkakumacamp.org