The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

70° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Simulation camps show refugees’ lives

    On the surface, Hawa Bealue, Kelvin Jallayu and Amelia Jallayu seem like normal Tucson high school students, but they have a more extraordinary history than most their age.

    All three are refugees relocated from Liberia who are building a new future in Tucson.

    The Catalina Magnet High School students were on the UA Mall yesterday during a three-day refugee camp simulation answering questions about being refugees and their relocation.

    Students Taking Action Now in Darfur, the International Rescue Committee and Amnesty International joined forces for the simulation this week to show passersby what it’s like to be a refugee in another country.

    The three-day mall event started Tuesday and ends today at 4 p.m.

    “”My family and me left and went to Nigeria because of the war,”” said Bealue, 16, who came to Tucson in December 2005. “”Surviving was not easy because there was little education and no available jobs.””

    Liberia is currently in the midst of a civil war that is destroying thousands of lives and displacing thousands more.

    Two tents made of sticks and tarps were set up on the mall replicating the housing where many refugees take shelter.

    “”Housing is very different depending on where you are,”” said Jenn Pierson, a community outreach coordinator for the International Rescue Committee. “”In emergencies, refugees will set up camps on their own with whatever they can find. In anticipation, the (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) will put up tents that are sturdier and can last two to three years.””

    The rescue committee resettles refugees in the U.S. by providing them with furnished apartments and basic necessities like kitchen utensils and cookware.

    A food stand was also set up on the mall that displayed the types – and amounts – of food camp refugees eat every day.

    Rice, beans and fortified blended food comprise breakfast, lunch and dinner in refugee camps. Adults are given about 2,200 calories of food per day.

    “”Sadly, they think rape is less costly than murder, which is what would happen to men if they got the firewood.””
    – Mariah Foose
    veterinary science
    sophomore and Amnesty

    “”We ate that stuff,”” said Amelia Jallayu, 16, pointing to the orange blended-food powder. “”It’s pretty good if you cook it right.””

    Bealue said the U.N. would deliver food to her refugee camp about once a month.

    “”Sometimes they would not make it for a couple months,”” Bealue said. “”They tried their best though, and we really appreciated it.””

    Mariah Foose, a veterinary science sophomore and Amnesty International volunteer, said water and firewood are the two largest problems facing refugees in Darfur.

    “”That’s why they (Darfur) are having so many problems with rape because women are sent out to get firewood,”” Foose said. “”Sadly, they think rape is less costly than murder, which is what would happen to men if they got the firewood.””

    All three of the high school student refugees said they want to return to their country someday.

    “”I want to be a businessman and go back and help develop my country,”” Kelvin Jallayu said.

    Amelia Jallayu said she hopes to be a nurse and return to Liberia to help take care of the sick and hurting people in her country.

    “”I want to study medicine,”” Bealue said. “”Then I can be a doctor and give needed medicine to my people.””

    All three students agreed that getting refugees educated is the most important thing once they are relocated.

    “”If a family with kids is coming over here, get them education and good education as soon as possible,”” Bealue said.

    Erica Solomon, a media arts junior, started the UA chapter of Students Taking Action Now in Darfur with some friends last fall in hopes of raising student awareness.

    “”I was talking with a friend about how we always look back on genocide after it’s already over,”” Solomon said. “”I wanted to do something now while we still can.””

    Solomon said she thinks raising awareness on a university campus will especially help the cause.

    “”We are going to have a lot of power in the world when we graduate,”” Solomon said. “”We need to get young people involved to say we aren’t OK with what is going on and we demand a response.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search