Bear Grylls, television presenter and Chief Ambassador for World Scouting. Ban Ki Moon, former United Nations Secretary and Good Will Ambassador for Scouts. Andy Rabens, U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for Global Youth Issues. These are only a few "personalities" fourteen-year-old Kok Matim had the opportunity to meet while attending the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia between July 22 and August 2.
A South Sudanese Boy Scout living in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kok was chosen by the Kenya Scouts Association to participate in the Jamboree to showcase how Scouting can empower refugees through education, skills development, community service and citizenship activities. The event reunited more than 40,000 young people and adults from 170 countries and inspired them to take action toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the theme Unlock a New World.
“I LEFT MY WHOLE LIFE BACK HOME. I WANT TOSTART OVER, SMILE WITH MY CHILDREN AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE A GOOD EDUCATION.”
It’s a night Mwamini will never forget. Her husband had recently died, but there was no time for grief. It was time to take her children, all under 18, from the devastated village of Rutskuru, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and leave for Uganda. The goal: pursue safety with the hope of finding peace. While walking through a thick forest, she lost contact with six of her eight children. They were nowhere to be found. And may never be.
“I would never know how to explain what happened. It was dark, and I have not seen my children since,” recalls Mwamini with tears.
Living in Uganda since 2012, Mwamini’s is one of 6,600 households supported by the USAID-funded Graduating to Resilience Activity in Kamwenge District. Led by AVSI Foundation, in a consortium with Trickle Up and IMPAQ International, the project’s goal is to graduate extremely poor refugee households who fled from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and vulnerable Ugandan households from conditions of food insecurity and fragile livelihoods to self-reliance and resilience. Cash transfer is a fundamental part of the Activity because it ensures basic needs including food security are met so that households can experience the stabilization needed to engage in other activities.
SCOUTING BRINGS HOPE, SENSE OF BELONGING AND LIFE-CHANGING OPPORTUNITIES TO YOUNG PEOPLE AT DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP
Over the last seven years, Scouting has been providing life changing opportunities, hope and a sense of belonging to thousands of children and young people at the Dadaab refugee Camp in Garissa County, Kenya. The Scouting for Refugees programme run by the Kenya Scouts Association with the support of AVSI Foundation that is funded by U.S. State Department, has continued to empower young refugees through education, skills development, community service and citizenship activities.
According to UNHCR, the Dadaab Refugee Complex has four camps in namely; Dagahaley, Ifo, Ifo 2 and Hagadera with a total population of 211,701 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of May 2019. The numbers have reduced from about 570,000 due to the voluntary repatriation programme introduced in the last few years. The camp was first established in 1991, when refugees fleeing the civil war in Somalia started to cross the border into Kenya. A second large influx occurred in 2011, when nearly 130,000 refugees arrived, fleeing drought and famine in southern Somalia. The inhabitants of the camp are drawn from Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The economy of Daadab is estimated at ten times more than that of the seven northern frontier counties combined.
A refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) living in Rwanwanja Settlement, Kamwenge District, Uganda, Bugenimana Kamara describes with one word the experience she had last week (May 14-16) during the #MyVillageMyMarket event: incredible.
"I learned about the different seeds, how to plant them and when, and how to protect my crops from pests,” says Bugenimana. “I am also happy that now I know how to treat my animals using the medicines I have seen in the stalls, they will no longer just die.”
Bugenimana is one of the participants of the Graduating to Resilience Activity, funded by the Office of Food for Peace, USAID and led by AVSI Foundation in a consortium with Trickle Up and IMPAQ International. The goal is to graduate extremely poor refugee households who fled from DRC and Ugandan vulnerable households from conditions of food insecurity and fragile livelihoods to self-reliance and resilience.
To recognize the challenging work with Venezuelan refugees entering and resettling in the country, the Brazilian Government awarded AVSI the “Amigo da Acolhida” (“Friend of Welcome”). The award was created to thank all partners involved in Operation Welcome, an initiative to operationalize the emergency assistance to receive migrants from Venezuela, who are in vulnerable situations, in Brazil. AVSI has been working in the Northeastern State of Roraima for a year, managing shelters that receive and assist hundreds of Venezuelans arriving daily to escape the humanitarian crisis in their country.
"I believe it was a fair tribute to agencies and organizations that are part of Operation Welcome and to all the people who dedicate themselves daily to Venezuelans refugees,” said Heli Mansur, AVSI Brasil Manager in Roraima, when he received the diploma. “I’m very honored and proud to receive this award on behalf of AVSI, which has an important role here."
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