“A Victim of Circumstances” – Authored and Read by Refugees

By: Anne-Marie, Galgalo & John

RefugePoint Community Navigators

The poem “A Victim of Circumstances” was co-authored by three Community Navigators from RefugePoint. We are staff members and refugees ourselves, working in the communities around Nairobi where our refugee clients live. We hail from Rwanda, Ethiopia, and DR Congo. Our group’s diversity made for a variety of perspectives about refugee experiences and circumstances.

The inspiration to write and record this poem was rooted in the desire to challenge misconceptions about refugees. Unfortunately, our experiences have proven that these misconceptions often lead to disrespect and dehumanizing behavior towards refugees. Many people perceive refugees as mere passive receivers or consumers of services, even labeling us as lazy people due to the nature of our circumstances.

The poem defines in simple terms: who a refugee is, the reasons for their flight, challenges, abilities, capabilities, needs, and interventions. It calls for access to proper services to help refugees reclaim their human dignity in the countries of asylum. 

We wanted to share a message of hope with vulnerable refugees and the global community. We emphasize that refugees are simply victims of circumstance; however, they can contribute to social change and development like anyone else. This message was reinforced by highlighting some prominent figures who have been refugees in their lifetime yet emerged as great leaders.

We decided to record our poem to bring to life the emotions, feelings, and voices of thousands of refugees around the globe represented in this simple piece of art. 

We hope that this poem helps refugees who have lost hope, that it revives their dreams for a better future, and they realize the miles they have walked and how much further they can reach. We would like to see organizations, governments, and host communities around the globe come together to appreciate the resilience of refugees. We wish that they join efforts to create a peaceful, supportive, accommodative, and considerate environment—a new home away from home for these victims of circumstances to achieve self-actualization in their countries of asylum. 

As Community Navigators at RefugePoint, we support the organization in a number of different capacities. This includes facilitating communication as needed between RefugePoint and its clients through language interpretation and translation and information dissemination to the office and the community. Community Navigators deliver prescribed medication to refugees, conduct home visits for needs assessments, and refer clients to external partners as well as RefugePoint services. Community Navigators share health information and actively participate in community mobilization. In addition, we guide RefugePoint staff in the community while visiting refugee clients at home.  We hope that you enjoy our poem and find inspiration to support the world’s most at-risk refugees.