Maya Aluel Kur, from South Sudan, along with a group of photographers opened Dream Studio together. It took them 6 months to find the space, because the market was so congested meaning you would have to wait for someone to leave. The space was formerly used for a cinema, and had been empty for a few months because the former renter left, so they took the lease.


New arrivals get a shack and minimal food aid, administered by non-governmental organizations and the United Nations, in cooperation with the Kenyan government. Savvier residents barter their way to greater food security. And a small number—most of whom came from greater means in their home countries, and can afford to buy wares from wholesalers in the region—operate profitable makeshift cafes, general stores, movie theaters, and barbershops.

What follows is a look inside the Kakuma settlement in Kenya, one of the oldest and largest refugee camps in the world.


© Carolyn Drake





There is a rented salon run by Furaha Susan from Congo. She works and lives in the camp, renting the original home she was given when she arrived in 2010. © Carolyn Drake


Geda Gemechu Wadesso, and his wife Zenabu Agemja in their cafe. © Carolyn Drake


A woman drinking coffee in G&Z Cafe, owned by Geda Gemechu Wadesso and his wife, Zenabu Agemja. © Carolyn Drake


Black Marha owns a cinema where movies and football games are shown. © Carolyn Drake