If the Dadaab refugee complex was a city, it would be Kenya's third largest. It generates an economy of over $25 million– this from a people who are not allowed to leave unless it is to return to Somalia. We lump the refugee experience into one narrative without exploring what else comes with being a refugee. To be sure, these are people who have known incredible pain and loss. But they deal with it by retaining some semblance of normalcy. They open businesses, have sports teams, join youth groups, engage in camp politics etc. To view Dadaab only through the lens of idleness and misery is to sorely misunderstand a camp that is pregnant with untapped potential. I hope these photos can address many misconceptions about life in a refugee camp. Yes, there is hardship and despair but there is also life, hope, and opportunity.
Khadija Farah is a freelance photographer and writer based in Nairobi. Her work mainly focuses on conservationism and refugee issues and how they affect individuals.