Uganda's Refugee Crisis

Kids Club Kampala works in the slums in the very heart of Uganda’s capital city. So why are we talking about refugees? Kampala’s Slums are in fact unexpected cosmopolitan communities. When you think of refugees in Africa, images of big UN camps made up of tents and surrounded by fences may come to mind. However, in Uganda things are a little different. Because of Uganda’s very compassionate Refugee Policy; IDP camps are not fenced-off and refugees are not confined to life within their perimeter. Thankfully, they have the freedom of movement (something that we believe should be available to refugees world-wide). This means that many of them make their way to Kampala in search of opportunities for work and a chance to rebuild their lives in a new country. Inevitably most of these refugees end up living in the slums of the city and this is where we meet them.

Uganda has one of the world’s most compassionate Refugee Policies and welcomes refugees fleeing from war, famine and political instability from countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Eritrea. The UNHCR recorded over 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda in 2015. However, since then record numbers of South Sudanese refugees have entered the country fleeing from violence and instability. Estimates show that almost 800,000 people have entered Uganda from South Sudan, meaning that the refugee population of Uganda has more than doubled. Many internal migrants from other parts of Uganda also make their way to Kampala and settle in the slums. These are people who have previously fled conflict in Northern Uganda due to the Lord’s Resistance Army up until 2006, and those who have simply fled the poverty and hunger they were facing in very remote and poor villages across Uganda.

Being firmly rooted within the slum communities that we work in, Kids Club Kampala has had the joy of working with children and families from diverse backgrounds, nationalities and beliefs. The community members in the slums do not all share a common language, culture or religion but we have been incredibly humbled and inspired by how families live together and support each other through the terrific challenges they face each day. Whether it’s the children we meet who have been taken in by neighbours when their parents fall sick, the families that share their tiny homes with other families who have lost their own homes in the terrible rains or the community members who go out of their way to support our carpentry boys by buying the products that they make despite the fact that they themselves have so little. These diverse communities continue to amaze us by their strength and unity.

Leaving all you have ever known and migrating to a new country or city can be terrifying. Whether fleeing violence or terrible poverty these families should be supported and provided with opportunities to rebuild their lives. Sadly, many of them are faced with the new challenges of living a slum life. With inadequate sanitation, disease, gang violence and substance misuse all around them they have the odds stacked against them for creating a new and prosperous life. They have dreams of setting up their own businesses, of their children receiving a good education, of finding secure accommodation and being able to afford healthcare when their family members fall sick. At Kids Club Kampala we are there for these communities, providing access to education for their children, support for groups of women to gain a sustainable income, education and support to keep children safe from the dangers of the slums, food to keep them from hunger and support for families’ basic needs. Our projects are a lifeline to many of these children and families whilst they try to rebuild their lives.

Kids Club Kampala’s projects run on the support and donations of many kind individuals and we want to thank all of you who support our work regularly. However, the need is never ending and our budget is limited and this makes it difficult to support everyone who comes to us for help. Could you consider giving a monthly donation to Kids Club Kampala to help us support these children and families? Even just £5 a month could help us provide 25 meals for hungry children. If you would like to donate or set up a regular gift please follow this link.