Local solutions for global problems

Meet Samson, a 22-year-old Congolese designer who came to Kakuma Camp in 2015 and is now helping to fight the Coronavirus by making free face masks for both refugees and locals.

Samson, a refugee designer helping to fight Coronavirus through masks provision: Photo/KANERE



“My name is Samson Alex Muhindi, and I am a fashion designer. I started in this line of work immediately after I came to Kakuma Camp with my parents. This work of mine has been helping me support my family here, until the disaster called Coronavirus entered Kenya.”

Seeing the pandemic unfold around the world and eventually entering Kenya, Alex wondered what he could do to contribute to the prevention effort.

“I feel bad when I see what the world is now going through, and I wanted to dedicate my time and skills to protect my community against this virus. I am asking people here in Kakuma to get their masks from me, for free. I am located in Kakuma 3 Zone 1 Block 4, at the Lizza Hua market.”

For the small scale designers, the contribution of free masks has gradually taken a financial toll: Photo/KANERE

Alex considered selling the masks, but decided against it when he thought about the economic situations facing his neighbors in the camp.

“I could sell them, but I know many people here in the camp cannot afford to buy them more than one time a day. SoI just have to offer myself to the community. Even if they come and pay for the mask, I don’t think there is something I would have achieved, because money will just finish. The only fear I have here now is if the country goes on complete lockdown, because it will be hard for me to be providing free masks any longer. I will have nowhere to buy the materials again.

The decision was not easy, as the contribution of free masks has gradually taken a financial toll.

“My business is getting down now because am only focusing on making masks, which I give away for free. But I am to help the community.”

Alex currently makes 100 masks per day, but he is calling on other tailors to do the same.

“I am not the only designer in Kakuma. There are many tailors and designers here, and if we can join hands, we can help our community with masks. I cannot manage to do this for everyone on my own. If more people come together, we can make more and help more people.”

Another is procuring the materials used to make the masks.

“If there is any NGO in Kakuma to help provide material, I am sure other designers can also be helping in making the masts. Let’s all join our hands to fight this together.”


#Coronavirus, kakuma, kalobeyei, KanereNews, kenya, refugees