Uganda is one of the largest refugee-hosting nations in the world, with over 1.45 million refugees, and more people continue to flee to Uganda due to unrest in neighboring countries. Due to the prolonged conflicts in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the number of refugees arriving in Uganda has increased alarmingly.
18-year-old Maisha Kashindi knows how it feels when you have no other choice than leave your home and seek protection from a foreign country. Maisha was only a child when he had to flee.
“I remember the day when gunshots woke me and my family up early in the morning. I had to run to the neighboring village to keep safe, and it turned to be permanent displacement as the fighting went on nonstop,” Maisha describes.
When Maisha fled, he was separated from his family. As the violent unrest spread further, he eventually ended up seeking refuge in the neighboring country Uganda. Maisha had to live apart from his parents and siblings for years, but eventually, the family members found each other. Now the family lives in the Nakivale refugee area near the Tanzanian border.
Hundreds of thousands of young people like Maisha live in refugee areas in Uganda. Poverty, insecurity, and lack of education drive many young people in conflict areas to join armed groups or use drugs. Young people have also suffered the consequences of the corona pandemic as the doors of Ugandan schools remained closed for nearly two years. The Ugandan authorities estimate that in 2021, about 30 percent of schoolchildren, about 4.5 million children, did not return to school due to teenage pregnancy, early marriage, or child labor. The lives of many refugee girls, in particular, have changed irreversibly as the poverty caused by the pandemic has forced them into marriage and motherhood too early.
Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus, we have been able to continue our youth education in Uganda. At FRC’s Youth Center in Nakivale, there is room to dream and find meaningful things to do in a safe environment. At the Youth Center, local youth meet their friends and take part in various hobby groups, such as dance and drama clubs. The center is especially lively in the afternoons when young people gather there to play games and play sports. The interior provides a quiet space for doing homework or reading books in the library corner.
The premises of the Youth Center are also utilized for FRC’s training. A study group on economics meets 4 times a week and a literacy group 3 times a week. In addition, the plot has a garden run by young people, where they can grow vegetables and take the harvest to their families.
Maisha has made new friends at the Youth Center, and they often play football there together. Now Maisha dreams of something that only a few young refugees have the opportunity to achieve – studies at university.
“I desire to further my studies by going to university and thereafter getting a job. I also have a passion for being a leader so that I can get an opportunity to make decisions that can positively impact my community,” Maisha says.
Through our training, we aim to strengthen the ability of refugee youth to better cope with everyday challenges and reduce their vulnerability in the future by improving their livelihood skills. Young people are a resource for the future that we should invest in. Read more about our operations in Uganda.
SUPPORT OUR WORK IN UGANDA
By supporting our work, you can ensure the continuity of our work in Uganda and other operating countries. Even small donations have a significant impact.
Examples of how you can support refugee youth’s education, livelihood, well-being, and human rights:
- 25 €, refugee youth and children receive footballs and other sports equipment.
- 50 €, girls and women who are in a vulnerable situation get access to shelter and education.
- 300 €, a young refugee gets vocational training and the opportunity for an independent livelihood and a better future.