Assessing the Logistics of Self-Sustainable Refugees in Refugee Camps
When individuals hear the term “refugee”, images of war, individuals escaping persecution, and people in need of basic necessities typically come to mind. Many are unaware of how refugees actually live, as well as of the logistics of their living arrangements. The logistics of refugees becoming self-sustainable in camps include how residents work to activate their entrepreneurship with consideration to the number of people the camp may consist of, along with the limited resources available. Understanding these types of details is important when developing insight into the refugee crisis.
One important detail to note is how refugee camps vary in size. Some of the largest refugee camps such as the Kakuma Refugee Camp and the Hagadera Refugee Camp in Kenya exceed 100,000 inhabitants.
Other refugee camps such as the Zaatari Camp in Jordan comprises of little over 80,000 denizens. The number of people residing in refugee camps can heavily dictate how many resources individuals may have access to and the potential for the refugees to become self-sustainable like they once were. The location of refugee camps and the country’s policies and attitudes towards those who are displaced also play a role in how the camps are managed and how far the inhabitants of those camps can go to start businesses, or get employed in order to eventually become self-reliant.
For example, despite there being only so many resources available, Jordan has a considerable reputation for remaining generous and heavily sympathetic towards the refugees that reside there. Everyone’s experience residing in refugee camps in Jordan is of course different so the ability that some refugees may have to remain settled for long periods of time provides them with the opportunity to develop an economy. ABC discusses how in Zaatari, several families and individuals have created their own small businesses that cater to the others who reside in the camp. The article goes on to mention how refugees have essentially built a city for themselves as these refugees are actually collectively retaining millions in revenue annually and are thus helping Jordan’s GDP. While camp Zaatari most definitely has its flaws and limitations, from an economic standpoint, the people in the camp are doing well in terms of reaching the ultimate goal of becoming fully self-sustainable.
While the circumstances in camp Zaatari have allowed for this development, many refugee camps lack the privilege to jump-start an economy to the same extent as the people of Zaatari have been able to do. Many refugee camps lack the adequate amount of water necessary for the survival of its residents. Without access to water, opening up businesses especially within the food/drink industry comes down to be impractical and nearly impossible.
The challenge to actually obtain and effectively distribute resources within camps in order to optimize the number of refugees that will attain self-sustainability is one that will persist for several years. Individuals who actually want to help must think in the long term and work on solutions that prioritize providing refugees the materials needed to learn new skills or use the skills they already have expertise in to reach self-sustainability. While donating money directly to refugee camps and giving refugees a certain amount of food needed for survival are effective short-term methods to help, long term solutions to reach self-sustainability should also be strongly prioritized. Finding this balance with consideration of how scarce of a resource time is, imposes even more challenges that policy makers, related advocacy groups, and various organizations must be willing to continuously work on.