On February 4, Ayako Kaino, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children Humanitarian Relief Specialist, Veronique Njo, UNICEF Protection Officer and Gaele Chojnowicz, UNHCR Child Protection Specialist, visited AVSI's activities in Omugo Refugee Settlement, in the North of Uganda.
AVSI has a long history of partnership with UNICEF in the Acholi sub-region supporting the health sector to strengthen maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition and education.
Within the program Ending Violence Against Children (April 2018 to March 2019) in Kyangwali and Rhino Omugo Refugee Settlements, AVSI works to improve case management and access to protection and legal services through community-level protection structures; to provide a supportive family care environment, and to promote a safe environment in schools and in communities.
During the visit, Ayako Kaino and AVSI Country Representative John Makoha inaugurated a new art mural in one of the targeted schools of the project, St. Mary’s Ocia Primary School. The art mural shows what a school means to teachers, students and the community of Omugo: a safe and violence-free environment.
Fifi was born in Goma, a border city which has seen much violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One night, her family was attacked by rebels who killed her father and raped her mother and older sister. Fleeing to neighboring Rwanda, they hid in the forest for about a week, subsequently making their way to Kenya where they registered with UN refugee services in Nairobi.
At 17 years old, Fifi met a woman who offered her a job in Mombasa, but there she was sexually assaulted by the woman’s husband and sent to live in an unsafe area where she was again attacked.
With no money and no way to contact her mother, Fifi slept on the streets for three days until she met a kind woman named Salma who took her in to take care of her disabled son. That’s when Fifi discovered she was pregnant. After giving birth to a daughter, Salma arranged for Fifi to return home to her mother.
Six years ago, Ndabagyimana Tuyambaze, 36 years old, fled her home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, running away from violence and starvation. Since then, she has been living with her five children, all under five years old, her husband and two older children that she fosters in the Base Camp of Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Uganda’s western district of Kamwenge. Life in the camp is not easy. Tuyambaze’s household lives in dire poverty: their primary source of income is a $55 handout they receive every month from the World Food Program. But their situation is about to change. Ndabagyimana is among the beneficiaries of Graduating to Resilience, a project implemented by AVSI Foundation and funded by the Office of Food for Peace, USAID.
“I am excited to be among the selected beneficiaries of this program,” celebrates Ndabagyimana, who is the sole wage earner of the household, since most of the time she is uncertain of her husband’s whereabouts.
AVSI, leading a consortium including Trickle Up and IMPAQ International, is implementing the Graduating to Resilience project in the Kamwenge District, in Western Uganda. The goal of the project is to graduate impoverished refugee households and vulnerable Ugandan households from conditions of food insecurity and fragile livelihoods to self-reliance and resilience.
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