UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today announced the appointment of Kenyan gospel singer, Mercy Masika as its national Goodwill Ambassador (Kenya).
Prior to the appointment, Masika served as UNHCR’s High Profile Supporter, championing its LuQuLuQu campaign to change the narrative of the African refugee.
“Through my involvement with the LuQuLuQu campaign, I have had the opportunity to meet with people who have been forced to flee and who, despite having lost everything, show unwavering resilience to overcome their circumstances to rebuild their lives,” said Masika.
“Refugees are just like you and me – they could in fact be any of us. I believe as an African community we have a responsibility to invoke the spirit of Ubuntu - that we carry each other's burdens by showing our warm heartedness in the face of a refugee’s struggle,” she further added.
Since her involvement with the LuQuLuQu campaign, Masika has advocated for and supported UNHCR’s work in protecting people forced to flee. This has included supporting public engagement and fundraising campaigns such as the launch of the LuQuLuQu campaign in Kenya, the Step for Safety public charity walks held across Africa, and performing at the first ever TEDx event held in a refugee camp – TEDxKakumaCamp. This past December, Masika participated in UNHCR’s Christmas campaign calling on public support for refugees across Africa.
Masika also represented UNHCR internationally at the National Prayer Breakfast in the Washington, D.C., which was attended by the United States President and other high level government officials.
Masika takes on her role as a Goodwill Ambassador during a time when the world faces unprecedented forced displacement. Kenya currently hosts close to 480,000 refugees and asylum seekers with 78 per cent of them being women and children.
“When I visited Kakuma refugee camp, I had the opportunity to spend time with the refugee families living there. I am inspired by the strength of the refugee women, many of whom have undergone traumatic ordeals. One woman shared with me her personal story of escaping violence in her village to find safety in Kenya. It is listening to these experiences that motivates me to advocate for their wellbeing,” Masika said.
Raouf Mazou, UNHCR Africa Bureau Director, welcomed Masika’s appointment: “I am very pleased to welcome Mercy Masika to the UNHCR family. I have witnessed first-hand her steadfast support for UNHCR’s work in Kenya and have look forward to her continuous positive contributions in her new role as a Goodwill Ambassador.”
Responding to her appointment, Masika said: “It is a great honour and joy to be given this appointment. I intend to utilize my role as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador by relying on my faith as a child of God and my commitment to support people forced to flee.”
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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is an international inter-governmental organization established in 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The organization works to ensure that people who have been forced to flee their homes because of violence, persecution, war or disaster have the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge. UNHCR’s dedicated personnel work in 138 countries around the world with 90 per cent of the overall workforce based in the field, assisting the most vulnerable victims of displacement.
For more information, please visit www.unhcr.org