World Refugee Day 2023 – hope away from home in Nakivale, Uganda

Finn Church Aid (FCA) is dedicated to making a profound difference in the lives of refugees residing in Uganda’s refugee settlements. Through the Disaster Relief Funds project, FCA has been able to provide crucial support and educational opportunities to new refugee arrivals in Nakivale Refugee settlement.

Empowering Dreams and Impacting Lives

Ishimwe Emmanuel, an ambitious 18-year-old, had to flee his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to escalating violence. His father was killed during the conflict and Ishimwe became the primary source of support for his mother and siblings. Despite adversities, Ishimwe never lost sight of his dream to become a prominent politician.

Taking on multiple responsibilities to generate income, he rented a bicycle to transport and sell water, all while striving to return to school. Ishimwe’s determination paid off when he received scholastic support from FCA, including essential supplies like school bags and books. The impact of this support was profound, reigniting Ishimwe’s motivation to pursue his aspirations and create a positive impact on society.

A teenaged boy in school uniform sits at a desk in a full classroom and holds up a text book to the camera. He is smiling.

Refugees like Ishimwe Emmanuel have experienced extraordinary transformations amidst the challenging circumstances they face.

Reflecting on his journey, Ishimwe shares, “the day I received the scholastic support from FCA, I felt a renewed sense of motivation to pursue my dreams and make a positive impact on society. Their support has been instrumental in helping me believe in myself and my abilities.”

Rediscovering passion for learning

Pauline Tumushime, a resilient thirteen-year-old, who is also from the Democratic Republic of Congo, fled her home country in search of safety and found refuge in Uganda with her family. With her father absent since her early childhood, Pauline’s mother, Nyiramugisha, took on the responsibility of providing for her children.

However, the transition to Uganda presented numerous challenges, making access to education seem like an unattainable dream. It was through FCA’s Youth Engagement Centre in Rubondo zone that Pauline found a renewed sense of hope. Engaging in career guidance and counseling sessions, Pauline rediscovered her passion for learning and the joy of forming connections with her peers.

Supported by her mother and the FCA programme, Pauline is determined to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor and making a difference in the lives of others.

A woman and three girls stand in front of a small hut smiling at the camera

Pauline Tumushiime (Centre) with her mother and two sisters, at their home in Nakivale refugee settlement.

“With the support from my mother and the FCA program, I am now filled with hope and determination. I am grateful for the opportunities that FCA has provided, and I am excited to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.”

Far-reaching impact

The impact of FCA’s commitment to empowering refugee children and youth through education extends far beyond Ishimwe and Pauline.

The Disaster Funds Project has transformed the lives of 1,460 students within Nakivale Refugee settlement. FCA constructed 2 blocks of classrooms at Rubondo Community Secondary School. By providing essential school supplies, career guidance, and psychosocial support, FCA has significantly increased school enrollment and instilled hope in the hearts of young refugees.

 Their stories serve as a testament to the power of education in unlocking potential and fostering resilience in the face of adversity.

A teacher in a classroom bends over the desk of a pupil in a classroom to check some work
Pauline receives guidance from her class teacher in her classroom at Rubondo Primary School, Nakivale.

“At FCA we are proud to celebrate the indomitable spirit of young individuals like Ishimwe and Pauline, who have overcome tremendous challenges and are making remarkable strides towards achieving their dreams,” says Wycliffe Nsheka, FCA’s Uganda Country Director.

“Through our ongoing support, we continue to empower dreams and inspire hope among refugee children and youth, fostering a brighter future for themselves and their communities,” he adds.

“Education can have a transformative impact on the lives of refugees. Together, we can make dreams a reality and bring lasting change to the lives of those in need.”

Text: Kadla Nabakembo