Kenya: A journey of fear and hope

Shamsa is using 'Trace the Face' to try to locate her son who decided to take the risky journey to Europe.

30 August 2018

Each year, thousands of migrants go missing on their way to Europe. Families get separated, loved ones end up in different corners of the world, unaware of where their relatives are and whether they are safe.

To help families find missing loved ones, several European Red Cross National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched an online tool called "Trace the Face" in 2013. This website allows people separated from their family to view photographs of those who are searching for their loved ones. They can also post a picture of themselves through the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to advertise their search. This year alone, at least one family every week has successfully been reunited with their loved one after launching their search on this website.

This is the story of Shamsa, a Somali refugee who has been living in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya with her family for the past 10 years. In 2016, her brother decided to leave the camp to pursue greener pastures in Europe, uncertain of what lay ahead in his journey. His motivation was to earn a decent living which would enable him to take care of his family back at home.

Unfortunately, she received a call from an anonymous source informing her that he did not make it. That he died a tragic death while on the move in Libya. Despite what happened to his uncle, Shamsa's son also decided to take the risky journey to Europe, going against his mother's plea for him not to go. The last time Shamsa heard from him was in March 2018, when he called her from Sudan, saying he was en route to Libya with the hope of crossing the Mediterranean Sea and getting to Europe.

Shamsa is now registered on ''Trace the Face'' by the Kenya Red Cross and is living with the hope that her son made it to Europe, and that he would contact her so that they may be able to become a family once again.

For more information visit: www.tracetheface.org

Kenya Red Cross Tracing contacts:
Dadaab +254715820206
Kakuma +254715820212
Nairobi +254715820219