Restoring Hope and Dignity through provision of Shelter to Vulnerable Refugees in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda

Ruzabahika Nafutari, who fled the genocide in 1994 found himself separated from his family and without a home. His search for his wife and children were fruitless and having arrived in Uganda settled in Oruchinga Refugee Settlement. His continued search for his family remained in vain. However, while in Oruchinga, Nafutari was attacked by unknown people and fearing for his life fled to Tanzania.

His woes never ended there and in 1995 he was exposed to torture by yet other unknown persons in Tanzania which forced him to return to Uganda where he was once again received and settled at the Reception Center at Kabahinda. However, in a bid to repatriate all Rwandese, the center was demolished leaving him homeless but he remained in Nakivale as he processed his asylum application that was successful enabling him to remain in Nakivale. To survive, Nafutari sold off some of his Non-food items (NFIs) provided to him by UNHCR utilizing the money to rent a house and get basic items. However, as he grew older, Nafutari found himself totally unable to cope especially when he was diagnosed with a chronic disease. At this point, a good Samaritan fellow refugee Tofiri intervened and provided him with a temporary shelter in her home. Nafutari said;

“Being a dependant in one’s home while old and leaving with a chronic disease is not easy. But in 2017, I heard of a new organization called HIJRA that supports vulnerable refugees. So, I found my way to HIJRA to seek any help to get a home of my own and thank God my prayers are now answered.  HIJRA understood my problem and in 2018 I am one of those that got a home of my own”

Nafutari narrates that Uganda has provided whatever is possible to him to be safe though he still faces challenges in getting fuel/charcoal and access to better treatment. In addition to a house, Nafutari was also supported with other Non-Food Items (NFIs) that included a solar lamp, blanket and a mat to enable him start up a new life in a new home.

Restoration of Hope and improving the well-being of vulnerable individuals is a core objective for HIJRA which supports vulnerable groups that include; People with Disabilities, Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs), Separated children, Abandoned Children, Single Parents without livelihoods, Persons with chronic medical conditions, older persons at risk among others. Vulnerable individuals in the settlement are identified through assessments and recommendations made based on outcomes of the assessments. Life is a journey that needs a lot of patience, commitment, and resilience amidst challenges. HIJRA remains committed to supporting vulnerable refugees cope and empowerment for self-reliance. Nakivale Refugee Settlement has 2,281 persons with special needs and extremely vulnerable. These have specific needs ranging from shelter, livelihoods, beddings, energy for light and cooking, continuous medical treatment, adult and children diapers among others.

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