This World Refugee Week, we catch up with Victor Nyamori, a Refugee Officer at Amnesty International. He talks about working with refugees, the need to welcome refugees #IWelcome and how he likes his travel.
- Who is Victor Nyamori?
I am a father to beautiful a daughter and a husband to an amazing lady. I love seeing positive changes in everything that surrounds me. That is why I love positive vibes.
- What has been your experience so far while interacting with refugees?
This has been the best fulfilling work I have engaged in. I have been working refugees now for 7 years, at different levels. I have worked with different stakeholders on both sides of the fence. I started with conducting interviews and recording stories of people fleeing their home countries to see of their stories met some basic refugee legal instruments. I then worked with victims and survivors of torture and violence to see and identify opportunities on how they can start their lives afresh while working at UNHCR. I then specialised to work with refugee children for about two years with HIAS. Save the Children then identified me to manage the Dadaab Refugee Child Protection Response.
I then jumped ship and joined Amnesty International. Here, we majorly monitor, document and report on issues affecting refugees. We use this information to campaign and bring in some positive changes in the lives of refugees. In a nutshell, we celebrate the little victories when we make positive changes in the lives of refugees.
- What are you currently working on? Any shows or projects that the public should watch out for?
We are currently running a campaign called #IWelcome. This campaign aims at showing the real faces behind the numbers that have always dominated refugees. When you hear that Kenya hosts over 400,000 refugees, you don’t get connected to the people behind the statistics. That is why we are working with a refugee film director from Kakuma Refugee Camp who directed, cast and shot a film about FGM. Look for out for the screening of the show on July 22nd. check out our social media pages under #IWelcome. I promise you, the skills and the talents these refugees have will leave you amazed.
- Your job description features lots of travel. Which destination changed how you look at life and why?
Indeed I have a lot of work related travels. I have gone round the word just to front on issues touching on refugees. Normally, when we travel, we plan, set dates, pack our relevant clothes and necessary documents. I personally continuously check my wallet to see that my ticket is there. Then we sit on plane, bus or train. We are even at times privileged enough to be served tea and some snacks or water. But imagine when you decide to leave home, everything you have known your whole life. your school, house, wallet and with no ticket for your destination. You leave everything behind and not knowing where you might end up. Imagine hiding in the forest and sleeping in swamps just to save your life and your family. That is what I found out when I arrived in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement in the West Nile Region in Northern Uganda.
What I took home from this? Don’t take life for granted. Appreciate the one you have now. Seeing refugees who were once professionals and executives live in tents because their country couldn’t protect them. That touched me.
- If you were to choose a former of current world leader to travel with, who would it be and why?
Barack Obama! He looks young and energetic and eager to try everything that comes with travel. We would dance, part, swim, surf, hike… you name it. I just love his inspiring nature. If would be nice of he brings over over Sasha and Malia then my daughter Judy would have some play mates.
- Best destination for a vacation? And who’s your favorite person to vacation with?
Caribbean tops the bucket list for my dream travel destination. In Kenya, I would love to explore the Rusinga Island, obviously with one and only my prayer partner, my First lady.