Last month we celebrated the first anniversary of the Safe Space for Vulnerable Refugees center. It was a very challenging year, but the results are encouraging. There are about 45 people coming to the center regularly and dozens of others coming for visits or get some specific help. We have many projects running simultaneously and some of our students have started to sell the products they learn making with us, such as beads bags and jewelry, charcoal, soaps and more. We also manage to assist many people with their refugee documentation, resettlement processes and health issues, according to each individual’s needs.
The atmosphere in the center is mostly very relaxing. People are concentrating at their work and there is a lot of laughter and calm conversations. This is cannot be taken for granted as most of these people are survivors of many different traumas and are still going through horrible challenges and stress in their day to day lives. It is very satisfying to be able to give them a few hours of peace a day. This is mainly the achievement of the amazing Celine, the manager and the main teacher of the center.
Unfortunately, the situation in Kampala is deteriorating still. Prices are constantly on the rise and basic food prices are more than double than just a few months ego. This is due to the continuing war in Europe, shortage of patrol supply, and a severe drought which took place in the north of Uganda for the last few months. On top of everything, there is an Ebola pandemic brewing here and the first cases arrived in Kampala. We are seeing more and more children arriving with their mothers to the center with clear signs of malnutrition and adults with serious health and mental issues. Giving small food rations and porridge to all our student is becoming an increasingly important part of our work, but unfortunately it is not very sustainable, with the rising food prices, so I am looking for solutions which will work in the long run.