We aim to identify the root causes of the social and environmental crises leading to discrimination, poverty and forced migration in East Africa and promote effective solutions both to those problems and the people affected by them.
There are many children coming to our Safe Space for Vulnerable Refugees center, especially during school vacations. Some come together with their mothers and some by themselves.
The children come from different, but all very hard backgrounds, there are orphaned foster children, violence and sexual abuse survivors, child mothers, school dropouts, and a boy who lives in a church becuase his mother is homeless.
The young children play with the games we have here, and the older ones learn arts and crafts with the adults. Some of them are with us for more than a year now, and it is great to see how they grow and become more relaxed and less timid.
Here is a beautiful house made today by one of our new young students.
Aniye Andalucía is a new initiative, started by our wonderful friend Cenix Callejo, aiming to promote equality and solidarity in Andalucía, Spain. They support our Safe Space for Vulnarable Refugees center by promoting selling our students’ artwork. Today they organize a great solidarity event in collaboration with the comics and standup artist Sophie Labelle. If you are in Andalucia, here are the details:
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.
Today we opened our Safe Space and Vocational Training Centre for particularly Vulnerable Refugees, for the first time. Refugees in Uganda confront many economic and social challenges, especially these days. Certain subsets of refugees such as disabled and elderly people, Women at risk, HIV+ people, etc., meet additional challenges as they are often subjected to discrimination, humiliation and violence due to societal stigmas and prejudice. Their legal, social and economic opportunities are significantly reduced. This societal marginalization makes them particularly vulnerable, and many of them struggle to survive. This project aims to help these groups in their day to day survival, as well as equip them with practical vocational skills and give them tools which will help them to integrate into the local economy and hopefully become self-sufficient. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 restriction, we must limit the number of participants, and we are sure that we will face many more challenges down the road. But today’s meeting with the first group of people was really encouraging and we are positive that this initiative will bring significant change to many vulnerable refugees.
This week we had the great pleasure of giving a three days long arts and crafts training to a group of vulnerable woman and children in the Kyaka II Refugee Camp. This is the first in a series of training we are planing with the HEM organization, in support of orphan children and widows in different refugee camps. We will help the group commercialise their products through our Facebook page #RefugeesKampala
We are really pleased with the progress of the new Refugees in Kampala – Arts and Crafts page. Today we have reached a 2,000 Likes and orders are starting to arrive to many of the participating groups.
Please keep sharing this page and supporting refugees and other marginalized groups in Kampala. https://web.facebook.com/RefugeesKampala
We are very happy to launch a new Facebook page ‘Refugees in Kampala – Arts and Crafts‘. The page will give refugee artists a unique opportunity to promote their work, communicate directly with their customers and develop their businesses.
100% Of income goes directly to the artists and/or their organizations.
Today we had a colourful, beautiful and successful community market today at the Little Light Children’s Center. This was a great opportunity for groups of refugees and local artists to network and sell their crafts.
The market was so much fun that all groups involved decided that we should make this a routine; starting mid January we will run the market every Saturday!
Additionally, we will open a special Facebook page to give these artists an online stage where they can directly engage with the public and sell their products.