Congolese youths Mauzo dance during the 5th Edition of Kakuma Got Talent finals at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kakuma, Kenya, Dec. 8, 2018. (Xinhua/Charles Onyango)
KAKUMA, Kenya, Dec.10 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and partners late on Saturday awarded cash prizes to several young refugees in Kakuma, the second largest refugee camp in Kenya, for harnessing performing arts to advance peace, unity and self-reliance.
Hundreds of young refugee artists participated in the fifth edition of Kakuma's Got Talent, from Thursday to Saturday, help showcase their prowess in music, dance, comedy, modelling and photography.
The overall winners in each category scooped 20,000 Kenyan shillings (200 U.S dollars) for their ability to use arts as an avenue for transforming livelihood of refugees.
Sukru Cansizoglu, head of the UNHCR sub-office in Kakuma, said this year's arts competition for young refugees set the bar higher in terms diversity, talent and content.
The UNHCR and several charity organizations organized the three-day competition at Kakuma.
The refugee camp, located in northwestern Kenya, hosts over 186,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Participants dance during the 5th Edition of Kakuma Got Talent finals at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kakuma, Kenya, Dec. 8, 2018.(Xinhua/Charles Onyango)
Charles Iria, senior protection officer at Lutheran World Federation, said "the core objective of Kakuma's Got Talent show is to inspire refugee children and youth to engage in constructive activities and escape from the trap of social ills like drug abuse and crime."
He noted that several young refugee artists who once lived in Kakuma have now joined the global entertainment circuit while serving as role models to their peers.
Almasi Gerald, a member of a troupe from the Democratic Republic of Congo that bagged the top prize in the dance category, said he looked forward to headline major shows in Kenya and across the region to generate additional income and gain exposure.
"We are using dance to rebuild our lives and are determined to have a breakthrough in terms of recording high resolution videos and attracting corporate sponsorship," said Almasi.