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Rebuild, Renew and Restored

People on the move due to insecurity in their countries have many anxieties and uncertainties in life. Uganda hosts more than one million refugees that have no hope or plans to return to their home country. This prohibits them thinking positively about going home. Where would be the best place to live and experience the joy and sense of belonging? We have heard refugees asking, “How do we start thinking of going home amidst the lack of commitment to peaceful co-existence due to tribal and ethnic differences in the governing structure?”

Unaccompanied minors live by themselves in dilapidated houses or temporary shelters.  What a joy when some of them have access to semi permanent structures for their shelter and pit latrines through the support of humanitarian agencies like World Renew!

The affected are threatened with the loss of lives

Children and women constitute over 80% of the refugees in the settlement. These feel intimidated and denied their rights to access resources for a better livelihood. “Whenever I go out to pick some firewood to prepare a meal for my household, I am afraid of being raped in the fields.” This is one example of the rampant fears of defilement, rape and abuse. This causes stigma, shame and loss of dignity in society. Unfortunately, in most cases offenders go unchallenged as those affected are threatened with the loss of lives in the event the case is reported.

While the host communities were gracious to accommodate the refugees, the access to resources is challenging as the struggle between the host and refugee communities exist. For instance, the depleted trees, inadequate land available for agriculture and grass for thatching their houses causes strife. The disharmony experienced is further traumatizing.  Cases of domestic violence are reported. The traumatic disorder experiences noticed in the settlements are sometimes overwhelming and can lead to suicidal cases.

Living in a just society is very difficult amidst dwindling resources with high competition at local, national and international levels.  What is the response-ability of the leadership towards reconciliation as a measure to reduce human suffering?

What we have learnt will not only help us here but also when we get back home again

Trauma programs are helping leaders reduce the numbers of cases with raised levels of awareness, reduced cases of trauma, the ability of the community leaders to handle cases through the refugee welfare committees and peace builders. It is remarkable to hear that, “what we have learnt will not only help us here but also when we get back home again”.  Enhancing community led interventions and structures provide ownership and a sense of direction.

Trauma healing and peace building enhances people’s capacity to deal with the situations. Rebuilding a sense of hope amidst hopelessness is only anchored in the shared Biblical truth about suffering. For instance, a client said,” I was ready to set the house ablaze when my household members are enclosed that we end living a life of uncertainty and suffering. But when I was selected to be part of the training of trainers, each day started with a devotion with scripture readings. This revealed God’s truth to me and changed my decision to commit suicide with the rest of my household members”.

In him we find meaning as he orders our steps

What a promise and assured hope for the world, when Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life in its abundance”. This reminds us of the responsibility to live in trust and hope of the risen Christ that he will restore, renew and rebuild our sense of belonging to him. That our creator God in him we find meaning as he orders our steps each day amidst uncertainties.

Photo by Stijn Kleerebezem on Unsplash

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