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20171215

Moulid Hujale on life in Dadaab, one of the world's largest refugee camps.

Moulid Hujale on life in Dadaab, one of the world's largest refugee camps.

The world is awash with refugees on the move - but the majority of Dadaab's population is going nowhere. Around a quarter of a million people live in the camp, which has existed in Kenya, near the Somali border, since 1991.

Budding Journalist Moulid Hujale spent 15 years in the camp, the majority of his youth, after fleeing Southern Somalia with his family. He describes the lives and stories of several of its inhabitants and explains how this vast camp is organised.

Dadaab has gyms, dance groups, theatre performances, singers, a refugee newspaper, poets and storytellers. People compete for business, there is crime and prostitution, restaurants and hair dressing salons.

Kenya has been keen to close the camps of Dadaab and has gone to great lengths to make sure the place does not feel permanent - even though it became Kenya's third largest city, after Nairobi and Mombassa, when over half a million refugees crowded there in 2011. The majority here are displaced herders fleeing conflict in Somalia, but there are also other nationalities running from wars and dangers in places as far flung as Sudan and Rwanda.

The Kenyan government, along with the UN refugee agency that runs Dadaab, has managed to send over 70,000 Somali refugees back home since 2014 but now, with another wave of conflict and further famine, many Somalis are again returning to the relative safety of this tragic and vast settlement.

It is clear that, after more than a quarter of a century, Dadaab cannot truly be described as temporary. Moulid is one of the lucky ones to have got out.

Producer: Anthony Denselow
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.