UNHCR: Birth certificates signal brighter future for stateless children in Kenya

Emma Muguni smiles through her tears as she holds her six children’s birth certificates in her hands. From now on, she will not need to worry about their future here in Kenya.


They are among the 600 birth certificates recently issued to children from the stateless Shona community in Kenya for the first time.

“My prayer has always been that they would not have to struggle like I did,” says Emma. “They are always sent home from school to get their birth certificates. Now with this piece of paper, they can go to different places, and they can make a life for themselves.”

The Shona community arrived in Kenya from Zimbabwe as Christian missionaries in the 1960s. They carried Rhodesian passports and were registered as British subjects. After Kenya’s independence in 1963, they had a two-year window to register as Kenyans, which many missed, rendering them stateless.

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