HIJRA Uganda Opens New Offices in Kyangwali

From humble beginnings come great things. This has turned out to be true, in HIJRA Uganda’s case. HIJRA Uganda opened operation in Kyagwali in mid February of 2018, with a handpicked team of staff headed by then, head of protection Lydia Bakumpe, they hit the ground running, while operating in a humble 14x9 feet, blue painted rectangular office, in the heart of the humanitarian crisis at the south-western border of Uganda and Congo.

From this one room, PoC’s flocked in, nonstop on a daily, from as early as 8 am to late in the night for some instances, requiring various interventions, that are provided by HIJRA in the Kyangwali settlement. I bore witness to one case, such as this, on this particular day during a field study mission to Kyangwali, I saw a frantic woman rush the HIJRA office rickety gate, followed by the din of an approaching angry mob, she turned out to be a  suspected goat thief’s wife who was seeking refuge and protection inside the HIJRA offices, and from the office compound she silently monitored the progress of her now battered husband, painfully being  dragged to the OPM offices next door, along with the loudly bleating exhibit, an equally stressed goat, hanging upside down his bare chest like a necklace, its feet tied in a knot at the back of the suspect’s neck.

I watched her, as she watched him being pushed and kicked around, while the mob grew louder and bolder in their actions.

The situation would have ended on a tragic note, had it not been for the quick thinking and synchronized movements of the Hijra Legal team and staff who alerted the policemen in the settlement. Which quickly dispersed the mob, with a few shots in the air and restored order. All the while ensuring the safety of the terrified wife keeping vigil within the safety of the constricted HIJRA office premises, for when trouble broke out, everyone, even bystanders took cover behind the rickety gate and wire mesh fence! Keep in mind that this is a one-roomed office with a shade that acted as a waiting room and assembly point for PoC’S. The office room itself, hosting around 25 staff members who managed to share the 3 tables they had, to attend to an average 30 PoC’s a day.

It goes without saying; the situation did get overwhelming for everyone involved. Staff utilized every available space within and outside the room to address POC issues, the best way they could. Case in point, Psycho-Analysis was conducted under a lonesome tree in the back of the office, due to lack of space and privacy within the always crowded room or waiting shade. All the sectors run concurrently in that one room whether it was child protection, SGBV or a needed staff meeting, plastic chairs were carried out and brought in to facilitate a gathering within the constricted space. Not forgetting the non-existent restroom facilities, for both staff and PoCs at the offices, PoCs had to relieve themselves at the OPM offices next door, in case of an emergency, staff simply went back to their living quarters. 

It is against this background, that the need for expansion, become not only imperative but crucial to HIJRA’S service delivery in the region. Hence, after being allocated an area to construct her would be new offices, ground was broken on August of 2018, to be followed by 5 months of meticulous construction, resulting into the newly constructed spacious, 8 roomed, well ventilated, shiny red iron sheet offices. That will include a boardroom, storeroom, kitchen, restroom facilities and a major upgrade from under the tree, is a spacious welcoming counselling room, ready to receive clients, and address their issues in a calm, safe and serene environment.

 

 6 Dennis Pritt Road,

      P.O. Box 19686 -00100,

      Nairobi, Kenya.

 +254-(0)-20-527-0261

info@hijra.or.ke

Mon - Fri: 8:30 - 17:00

Humanitarian Initiative Just Relief Aid (HIJRA) Copyright © HIJRA, 2018.