In April 2017 a Dutch public broadcasting agency NOS published a story on Uganda "the refugee paradise". The article was titled: "Welcome refugee! Uganda welcomes you with open arms!" A South Sudanese colleague frowned after reading the translated article. "How can they see this as paradise?" he asked. "Don't they know that people who are here are the ones who are not able to go somewhere else? Live in the city, or perhaps another country? There is no such thing as a paradise here."
(For scale: California is home to almost 40 million people and much larger than Uganda.)
193 member states of the United Nations in 2016 adopted the New York Declaration committing members to better share responsibility for the world’s refugees and support the communities that host them in a global compact. This included drawing up a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Uganda was the first country that decided to apply the CRRF once the New York Declaration was adopted.
“The situation is no longer sustainable - for the governments of asylum countries, humanitarian agencies...The cycle of violence must be brought to an end.” -UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi
|Refugees await transport © UNHCR/Samuel Otieno|
Refuge crisis seems to have become a buzz word that people throw around for money, votes or publicity, but it is a very real problem. It also has very real solutions. At KIK, we are putting tangible solutions in place to serve as a working model for the future.
Many of Uganda's own citizens are in terrible situations. At KIK we work primarily with a group of Acholi refugees. They are the by-product of a war the world forgot about that ended officially in 2006. For 20 years these people endured the harsh conditions of IDP camps (internally displaced persons), eventually making their way to the Banda Acholi Quarters slum area. Now, the government wants that land back as well. They have begun bulldozing homes and forcing people out onto the streets once again. The stress of which has given people heart attacks and caused many deaths.
We are relocating these people to the Place of Refuge Village, but we need your help. This Village will create generational impact, sustainability, and change. The foundation for this venture has been laid steadily for over 12 years.
Working with knowledgeable and reputable architects to begin the design phase of the village, we have purchased the initial 100+ acres, drilled 3 wells, started crop rotations, cleared 20-25 acres, are building a storage facility, 2 pit-latrines, installed 6 safari tents and relocated the foundational families and single men, to begin the project. To make this dream a reality, the estimated cost of the project is $3 million (USD). We plan to raise all of this money through charitable donations given as one-time gifts or recurring payments.
“I hope that we will not forget the fundamental objective of the global compact on refugees – to have a real impact on people’s lives. This includes citizens of host communities who sacrifice so much to host refugees; as well as refugees so that they can contribute and not be a burden on host communities – so that both refugees and host communities remain strong and resilient in adversity until solutions are found.” -Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees during High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges.