UN-ACCOMPAINED MINORS IN RWAMWANJA REFUGEE SETTLEMENT
Rwamwanja Refugee settlement in Kamwenge District is hosting about 55 000 refugees from the neighboring Congo due to displacement by civil war in their country. The number is still increasing as the conflict in Congo still goes on and more people are being displaced.
On their arrival to Rwamwanja, each family of the refugees is given a small plot of land, tarps and basic things to build shelter. They are encouraged to cultivate the land. They have built mud and wattle homes with grass-thatched roofs.
Life is very challenging for a particular group of unaccompanied minors. They are traumatized, have no idea whether their parents are alive or dead, or whether they may one day turn up and be living in the next village.
Every essentials of human life is lacking for these innocent children. They are being fed on maize bread and beans which they must prepare by themselves. They all attend a primary school which is 300 meters away from their shelter. On a school day they must break from school to prepare their meals. They have no beddings, they have used the kind of art they learnt from parents to put up beds out of sticks with in their shelters. They have very old blankets to cover themselves which is equally nothing during the coldness on this rainy season.
The cooking shelter is an open stick construction where they make fire and cook meals in a couple of pots. The older boys are concerned for the mental and physical health of the younger ones and feel it a great responsibility that they must care for such small children when they need love and care themselves which is not available.
When they can’t do well with maize bread and beans, they move to the neighboring villages to work whole day for foods like banana, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes so that they can once in a while have a change of deity. The minors are currently sheltered in 3 homes each taking 20-30 children. They have leant to grow green vegetables around their shelters but when they go to school the adults come and steal their vegetables. The risk of malnutrition is high.
They go to school but learning is at its minimal levels. They do not get the basic schooling materials like books, pens, pencils and do not have school uniform.
SUPPORT BY THE PEOPLE FROM ALICE TO AFRICA
When Peter Carroll from Alice Australia and his wife Kira Kranzusch, their children Xaver and Felix visited Uganda Vision Resource Centre and they got chance to visit the settlement in July 2013, they were emotionally moved by the living conditions of these children. Then they were able to generously donate $150 which we have used to buy 21 mats for the boys from a local women group.
On receiving the mats, they boys were very excited and happy. The chairman of the house named Immanishimwe Passia said “we couldn’t believe that there are people who loves us to the extent that they can give us free mats to sleep on, we are now happy and can’t imagine the whole night sleeping on a mat”.
The boys now need mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets, food supplements, scholastic materials and emotional/psychological support. More mats are needed for the other two groups of equally the same number who did not get from this supply. These are few un-accompanied minors, but there are other thousands of children who came with their parents but also living under similar conditions.
Uganda Vision Resource Centre is now looking for more generous friends and charity organizations who can offer support to such children of God. With only $50 you can give a refugee child happy life in this settlement. More to that, people with different skills in areas like health, psychosocial support, nutrition, sports, teaching, agriculture, and others are needed here as volunteers to help the situation.
STREET SWAGS (SLEEPING BAGS MAKE LIFE BETTER
Street Swags (sleeping bags) for refugee children of Rwamwanja Refugee settlement recived by Armin Hoso the UNHCR Team leader Rwamwanja and Mr. Onen LWF programs manager Rwamwanja.
The street Swags were a donation from Australian friends of these children (Peter and Kira) who visited Rwamwanja in July last year and were concerned about the sleeping conditions of these children. On return to Australia they contacted the Street Swags Company who accepted to offer the help.
The donation was delivered to Rwamwanja by Sabiiti Fenekansi the director at Uganda Vision Resource Centre- a Community Based Organisation based in Kamwenge where Peter and Kira are members.
LWF will do the distribution of materials to children after sensitizing the communities and Mr. Onen will share the distribution pictures with us.
Mr. Armin Hoso was so much appreciative as he understands the unfavorable sleeping conditions these children are experiencing. His request was that if there can be an opportunity to get more of the swags it will be welcome. Other needed materials for children would include clothes, sanitation and hygiene materials, sports materials and nutrition supplements.
More Health concerns among the refugees
- There are a number of women who came with children. They are much stressed by seeing their children suffer in their hands.
- There is a number of children who came alone without parents
- Women and girls who were raped during times of intense conflict in Congo.
- There is reported cases of mental disorders caused by trauma
- HIV positive refugees where some had started on drugs but were forced by circumstances to abscond.
- There is early marriages, early pregnancies and early divorce.
- Refugees who get sick and are admitted while there is no one to give them food because they came alone from Congo.
- Breast feeding and their breast feeding children are much stressed. Stressed children refuse to breast feed or eat food.
- The health unit receives on average 125 mothers per month; mothers who deliver from the villages double those who deliver from the health facility. There are not enough facilities. 4 health workers share one room. Tents are used as wards but sometimes are carried away by wind.
- Women and other patients are stressed by long distances to the health facility. Some villages are 20 km away from the health center.
To give your donation or support to this group of children, you can contact Uganda Vision Resource Centre on firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or contact our Australia-based members Peter Carroll and Kira Kranzusch on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com;