Uganda - Palabek: Refugees only aspire to return to their country when peace arrives

31 August 2018

(ANS - Palabek) - The Palabek refugee camp in northern Uganda is located 45 kilometers from the border with South Sudan; the Ancur region and the Ugandan government have built a 400-square-kilometer settlement camp where refugees reside, receive food and are helped to build their homes and a vegetable garden for their livelihood.

In the camp, divided into zones and sectors, about 60,000 South-Sudanese refugees live. They also take part in work such as tree planting to combat deforestation. Salesians live and share with the refugees the environment of the Salesian presence. "Everyone welcomes you and they say thank you. Very hard stories, but Uganda is a very generous country with refugees: they have the right to free movement, free education and health, the right to work in the country ... There are no engineers, doctors, teachers, lawyers; they are just simple refugees who aspire to return to their country when there is peace: South Sudan," says Alberto, an operator of "Misiones Salesianas" of Spain.


When they reach the settlement, the new refugees spend a few days in tents where they are examined clinically and, case by case, study find out where to place them, making sure to avoid mixing rival ethnic groups. "If they come without families, they try to locate them in the villages of their tribes or acquaintances of their population, and many come with psychological problems," says one of the missionaries.

"Many say that food is not enough," explains Indian Salesian missionary Fr Azar Arasu, one of the leaders of the Don Bosco Center, which has built three kindergartens where children learn English and is currently building a technical school. "This can mean a future for teenagers because here, after secondary schools, there are no opportunities." "The camp will certainly be maintained for another ten years, many want to go back but others know that they have nothing left and prefer to stay here."



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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