Experts have proposed to government and stakeholders to provide Hands-on Skills, and Digital skills to urban Refugees, in order to solve the poverty crisis amongst them (urban Refugees).
Speaking at a Stakeholders engagement meeting on urban Refugees issues organized by the Chevening Alumni Association of Uganda (CAAU), on Friday, Sedrick Murula, a former Refugee from DR Congo, and the founder of Young African Refugees for Integrity Development (YARID) noted that majority of the refugees, if provided with the skills, can better their lives and those of their dependants.
He noted that most who reside in Kampala, lack means of earning a living, which makes it difficult to take care of their families.
“Unlike those in Camps who are under the care of government and development partners, urban refugees take care of themselves, they face a problem of language that’s why we teach them English classes because we know it’s general in Uganda and can be able to speak and intergrate themselves with the Nationals,” Murula noted.
Murula added that through his NGO, they are training young refugees in ICT on how to utilize computers, writing skills, and some digital media related programs like Photoshop and how to deal with online bubusiness.
He said, “70% refugees and 30% Ugandans have benefited from our programs.”
The conference held under the theme, “Enhancing the Socio-Economic Well-being of Urban Refugees through Multi Skilling and Community Awareness, focused on enhancing the livelihoods of urban refugees in Kampala through ICT and entrepreneurship training.
Meanwhile, Andrew Ockenden, Development Director at the British High Commission in Uganda, said that Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies in the world, adding “From Uganda, UK has observed a new way of dealing with refugees which ensures that their dignity is preserved.”
Ockenden added that through such projects similar to the one the Chevening Alumni in Uganda is running, they have seen an increase in the number of refugees starting businesses, which is good for financial sustainability
Speaking at the same engagement, Hellen Nanteza Kawesa, the Chairperson of the Chevening Association of Uganda, revealed that they decided to prioritize the urban refugees due to their unique challenges.
“We partnered with YARID so that we build capacities of the young refugees, gave them training in different fields legal, human rights ad entrepreneurship skills to raise awareness in those areas so that they can be self reliance and build that capacity in them because they are young and have the capacity to improve their lives,” Kawesa said.
Kawesa revealed that as the association, they will equip the training centre with 10 computers, pay Internet for a year.
“This will help them to be able to use these computers in doing research, networking and things like that, that is our aim and we are hoping to work with stakeholders here, to help us to raise this fund, so we want to give them the resources and by the end of April we can handle over all the computers and a refurbished Centre,” she said.