How Diaspora Communities Support Kenyans Living Abroad
While living abroad can be an adventure, many Kenyans abroad experience loneliness and work multiple jobs that may not be as prestigious to their families back home even though it caters for their upkeep. Without the right support, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless.
Truth is, Kenyans abroad also face similar daily challenges to people back home. Depending on where they live and work, they may not be surrounded by people who understand their struggles so diaspora communities offer solace.
Here are just three of the many ways diaspora communities support Kenyans living abroad.
Promoting Cultural Identity
Kenyans who’ve been living abroad for decades may have opted to acquire citizenship in their diaspora country but many have strong ties and feelings towards Kenya.
However, maintaining cultural identity is a challenge and that’s why diaspora communities actively promote and celebrate Kenyan culture, language, music, dance and cuisine. You may notice Kenyans jump at every chance to speak their local languages and even do this to connect with fellow Kenyans they meet on the streets.
When it comes to national holidays, what may be just another rest day for locals is a lifeline of sorts for Kenyans living abroad. Be it Jamhuri Day or Madaraka Day, diaspora communities go all-out with vibrant celebrations bringing Kenyan families together to reflect on their roots and educate anyone else interested in their cultural heritage.
Academic & Career Growth
Many Kenyans move abroad to study and look for jobs that pay better salaries. Networking within diaspora communities, especially for those who’ve just relocated helps people quickly adjust and find job opportunities.
The Kenyan Scholars and Studies Association (KSSA) offer scholarships, mentorship programs, and workshops to help students excel academically and develop leadership skills that increase job prospects. These programs encourage resilience in the pursuit of education much like your parents would encourage you if you were studying back home.
Since cultural identity is a key priority for Kenyans living in the diaspora these groups also organize language classes and extracurricular activities to educate the youth on their roots.
Depending on where one is relocating to, drastic weather changes, food allergies and complex healthcare systems can make it harder to manage one’s health—especially if living with a chronic illness.
Diaspora communities like the Kenyan Nurses in Diaspora (KENID) support and mentor Kenyan nurses who have recently migrated, helping them navigate the healthcare system and address any challenges they may encounter.
KENID are a massive resource as they organize awareness campaigns on mental and physical well-being for the general Kenyan diaspora. They also partner with local healthcare providers who offer health screening and training sessions so that Kenyans in the diaspora, especially the undocumented, can still take care of their health as they figure things out.
Everyone hopes for a smooth transition when relocating abroad but when you don’t have a community nearby, living in the diaspora can be a lonely and challenging experience. Diaspora networks can offer support and encouragement during your transition and tougher times.