Meet the 2019-2020 UK Scholars: Damaris

For the 2019 to 2020 academic year, Windle Trust International is supporting 11 young intellectuals from Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan as part of the UK Postgraduate Programme. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of their stories.

Damaris running a workshop

Damaris has been supporting others since she was an undergraduate, working with women and girls and striving towards their empowerment.

Name: Damaris

From: Kenya

Currently Studying At: The University of Sussex

Currently Studying: MA Gender and Development

Supported by: Commonwealth Scholarship Commision: Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships

Whilst studying for a degree in Gender, Women and Development Studies at Egerton University, Damris dedicated her free time to volunteering in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. Alongside the Lutheran World Federation and the Department of Child Protection, Damaris supported unaccompanied minors by linking them with a range of partner services; from family tracing to health provision or supplying them with non-food items and arranging foster care. After graduating, Damaris continued to work with the Lutheran World Federation as a social worker.  As the first point of contact in Kakuma for newly arrived refugees her role was essential in providing the much needed support for new asylum seekers, as well as ensuring efficient and accurate collection of their information.

Continuing to support others, Damaris has also had roles in the Danish Refugee Council where she focused on creating awareness on the prevention of sexual and gender based violence by providing training and workshops in the Kalobeyi-Kakuma integrated camp, as well as working for Mercy Corps. At Mercy Corps she aimed to empower the adolescent girls of Turkana community both socially and economically through training in life skills, literacy and numeracy skills and human capital development. This was geared towards girls’ personal agency empowerment through a safe space model, focusing on basic numeracy and literacy education, basic nutrition literacy, financial literacy and reproductive health.

Damaris plans to retain her focus on supporting young women when she returns to Kenya and has ideas for a project to promote their economic empowerment whilst also providing them with a safe space and support network to ensure their social and legal protection.