WORLD REFUGEE DAY IN KAMPALA
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
Let’s all make a step together towards a better and more inclusive world tomorrow
By Miren Gil-Vernet Pagonabarraga
June 20th 2019 was World Refugee Day, an essential day to celebrate and raise awareness worldwide for the current situations that multiple countries are facing.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as some of us, and are forced to leave their houses, towns and countries because of war to look for a new place that ensures peace, a crucial factor to keep life and prosperity.
On top of this, refugees’ rights are often rejected or face an immense amount of challenges to achieve the basics to survive, such as lack of food, shelter, sanitation, treatment, support, discrimination, education, or information to access services.
Uganda, one of the most politically stable countries in East Africa, is currently hosting citizens from a variety of African countries that are struggling with war and instability. Due to this, Uganda is the first country in Africa and third worldwide in number of received refugees, representing a current influx of 1,276,208 refugees (UNHCR, 2019). Although the country is seen as a symbol of integrity due to the open-door policy which guarantees freedom of movement, right to employment, education, and health, and not turning anyone away who is running for safety (UN Africa Renewal, 2019), there are still many areas of improvement. This leads to a challenging situation for refugees to integrate into the local society.
On World Refugee Day, I had the opportunity to #stepwithrefugees and contributed for all of them with the help of a local NGO in Kampala called YARID (Young African Refugees for Integration and Development). Through participating in sports for peace with Congolese and Burundian refugees we all strengthened our sense of cooperation and helped these young refugees to integrate more inclusively into urban areas (such as Kampala).
We are all citizens of this world and as worldwide citizens we need to cooperate with each other to find the best solutions to all our challenges and problems, always encouraging our diverse environment and empowering the most vulnerable within our societies.
It is a challenge that we all need to take action for, the change towards a better and shared future is in our hands as well as celebrating the strength, courage and resilience of millions
of refugees around the world. Our time is now, and now for everyone and everywhere.