Kampala -(IP) – June 20th was declared World Refugee Day to honor those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict, persecution, or other life-threatening circumstances.

Iran PressAfrica: This year’s theme "Hope away from home" highlights the need to give refugees the opportunity to work, study and live healthy lives wherever they find safety.

Uganda, the largest refugee hosting community in Africa and the third highest in the world continues to give hope to refugees who are far from their homes.

Despite the fact that the country is facing increased pressures because of decreased humanitarian funding from international partners to the refugee response, Uganda continues to have an ‘open-door policy’ to new refugee arrivals, nearly 50 percent of these come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

Significant progress has been made on refugee inclusion under the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of Uganda. Refugees have been included in the national system and services, including in the third National Development Plan (NDP III) and (education/health) sector plans, and in the upcoming national census.

As part of economic inclusion, refugees are allowed to work in Uganda, and many have received land from the government to make their livelihoods. In addition, refugee children go to the same school alongside host children, have access to health centers with host communities, and facilitate their integration into their host communities.

In an exclusive interview with Iran Press in Kampala, Pohl Kasongo who fled violence in DRC has been able to start a thriving small business, making ladies' bags, and baby shoes among others, to support her livelihood. She started the business with the help of the Refugee Entrepreneurship Association Limited (REAL). The organization works on the empowerment of refugee women and girls to rebuild their lives, by way of providing income-generating activities and training for them to become self-reliant and able to meet their daily livelihoods. The majority of refugees in the country are women and carry the responsibility for the future and success of their children.

“I am from Beni, Congo and I am here in Uganda because we run away from the war, they were killing people so we had to run away and came here as refugees” Kasongo noted.

“As refugees in Uganda, we don’t have enough materials to enable us in our skills. We are living peacefully, so what we need are the materials, and the support so that we can work. We cannot go back to our country because there is still a war, especially in the East, it is not safe for us to go back to DRC”, she said.

“We cannot stay here in Uganda without doing anything. We need to do something, earn a living, so that we can survive here, like any human being’, Kasongo told Iran Press.

Elizabeth Sara Nambozo, from REAL, told Iran Press that empowering refugee women and girls, the enhancement of productive capacities, and economic self-reliance cannot wait and requires holistic approaches and strategic partnerships.

“REAL is there to empower women and girls so that they do something by themselves, it promotes their skills, we teach them how to make people's hair, tailoring, among others. We empower them such that they can be able to provide for their basic needs, to be able to be independent. All we are saying is that let's stand with refugees so that today or tomorrow, they can have a smile on their faces”, Elizabeth said.


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