Uganda hosts the fourth-largest number of refugees out of all countries in the world. The conflicts and internal crises in neighboring states of Uganda are reflected in the number of refugees arriving in Uganda. New refugees are constantly crossing the border as a result of the prolonged conflict in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other neighboring countries.
Safe life without the fear of violence or oppression is a dream never coming true for many who has been forced to flee. 34-year-old mother, Furaha Ceru Olive vividly remembers the day she had to flee her home in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Living a life filled with constant worry and fear, Furaha decided to escape when the rebels cruelly murdered her close family member. She feared she was going to be the next one killed.
– When I woke up every day, I thought that I may not make it until the end of the day, she tells with a serious facial expression.
Furaha managed to flee to the Nakivale refugee settlement, Uganda. That is where she is now living. In Nakivale she has participated in the Financial Literature Training and English courses organized by the Finnish Refugee Council. English is the official language of Uganda, so without English skills, it is practically impossible to deal with everyday tasks or make a living. Since participating in the English course, her confidence has increased. Now asking for help is easier as well. Furaha’s language skills are helping the whole community; she was elected to the committee that is responsible for the welfare of the refugees in her village.
Financial literacy training, on the other hand, gives refugees more knowledge on budgeting, saving, and investing. This helps especially women to build a new life. With the support of the Finnish Refugee Council, Furaha has set up a small sewing studio, by which she is now able to provide for her family. Furaha dreams of entrepreneurship and an independent livelihood in the future.
Helping women to get educated and get a livelihood is a key to reducing gender inequality and poverty. Supporting women not only helps them and their families but the whole community and society as well.
Furaha too has a strong will to help other women in the refugee community.
– I have founded a union that aims for supporting orphans and widows. We also support single moms, who have been raped or forced into child marriage. If I can get funding for the union, I can help vulnerable women in my community to have a better life. Many need help, Furaha tells.
Every year, the Finnish Refugee Council helps thousands of women to gain financial independence. We organize numeracy and savings groups as well as literacy and entrepreneurship training in Uganda. The livelihoods of participants are actively mentored and monitored.
– With their programs and training, the Finnish Refugee Council encourages the empowerment of women and offers them opportunities. After participating in one of the courses, my confidence and my influencing opportunities have increased significantly. Now I can give back to others”, Furaha smiles.
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