Kitala Mupenge Fabrice, 29, was preparing to study business administration at university in 2012 when violence flared in his home province of South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fleeing insecurity and abandoning his studies, Kitala reached the safety of the Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya, a sprawling zone that is home to almost 200,000 refugees from 19 African countries. Kitala arrived at the camp alone. Today, he is married with two small children, but ongoing insecurity in the DRC has prevented his return home.
During his eight years at Kakuma, Kitala has worked for local and international organizations and founded five community groups. Among them is “There is Hope Africa”, which he launched in 2017 to provide vocational skills training to women and young refugees. The group also offers internet services to thousands of refugees in Kakuma at cyber cafes and through monthly subscriptions—and to Kenyans in the town neighboring the camp. Providing this vital service has won Kitala and his colleagues the affectionate nickname “The Wi-Fi Boys”.