There are over 300,000 refugees in Tanzania and about 30 of them performed songs, dances and even a fashion show for members of the diplomatic and government community on Tuesday evening.
Tanzania has consistently been one of the largest hosts of refugees on the continent, however budgets are always stretched to the breaking point; this year, only six percent of the funding has been gathered.
For many of the refugees this commemoration of World Refugee Day was the first time they had ever been allowed to set foot outside the camps.
Patrick Kazige, whose mother fled the Democratic Republic of Congo, was one of the musicians who performed at the event held at the Little Theatre on June 20.
“We don’t have much to do at the camp, most of the time we just sit around idle. Some of our friends would go out and play football or basketball, but my passion is music. We used to play on plastic or metal cans, and we’d use that as instruments,” says Kazige.
He decided to pursue music after hearing his mother tell stories about his deceased father, who had been a musician in president Mobutu Sese Seko’s entourage.
The event highlighted Tanzania’s willingness to support refugee communities including the recent adoption of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, which is a pilot project to develop a holistic and sustainable approach to protect refugees while boosting support for the host community.