Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement


Kiryandongo UpdateKiryandongo Refugees

In 2010, a landslide so vast as to be visible from space engulfed several villages in Bududa, burying 300 people alive. In the aftermath of the disaster, the Ugandan government moved 4000 survivors to the Kiryandongo Settlement Camp in Western Uganda.

As the government could not afford to build homes for them all, over 500 families have lived for two years in inadequate mud dwellings, sheltered only by broken tarpaulins left by previous Sudanese refugees who have now returned to their home country after the civil war ended.

Each family is allotted a small square of land, but whilst some of these have fruit trees, many are bare. Perhaps the biggest problem with the camp is that only five of the twelve hand-pumped water boreholes are still working, meaning that in the dry season refugees queue for hours every day just to get a drink.

Rose's Story

Rose Ekitwi is a Ugandan whose own experience of illiteracy drove her to initiate a program, supported by Afrinspire, to teach women valuable reading skills to empower them in their daily lives.

Having set up over 60 women’s literacy groups, supporting women from around 1200 families, Rose was planning to expand her scheme into a fifth area, Bududa, when a major natural disaster struck.

Despite having had her expansion plans disrupted by the landslides, Rose was determined to start up her functional adult literacy groups in the area anyway - albeit a year later than intended. In fact, the people of Bududa need her more now than ever before, as her groups are important in inspiring the refugees to take control of their lives. So far, a group has been set up in each of the six zones of the Kiryandongo camp, with fourteen leaders trained.

 

The lives of these 4000 displaced people have changed beyond recognition, not least because most families are subsistence farmers who have had to adapt to completely different agricultural practices. They have moved from mountains to a flat plain, and from a rainy area to a place prone to long dry seasons with different soils and seasons.

Although now safe from landslides, the refugees have lost everything and have had to rebuild their lives from scratch.

Meanwhile, problems continue in Bududa, with another landslide in 2012 making it unlikely that the refugees will be able to return home anytime soon.

Our work in Kiryandongo has acted as a catalyst to help displaced families to rebuild their lives.

Afrinspire is Rose’s sole financial supporter in her literacy enterprise. We play a crucial role in the aftermath of disasters, helping the African people to rebuild their lives at a time when major aid agencies have moved on to another more immediate crisis. The media soon forget the victims, but it is people like Rose, through self-help groups who are responsible for the longer term support which is so crucial in empowering people to begin again after a catastrophe.

Please click here for our latest Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement fundraising proposal.