Partners, friends, family, the Refugee community and host community came together on the 20th of June 2017 to celebrate the lives of Refugees, in commemoration of World Refugee Day 2017. The day, which started off at 8:30Am with a match from InterAid Uganda that was flagged off by the European Union Ambassador Mr. Kristian Schmidt as the chief walker alongside the UNHCR Uganda Country Representative Mr. Bornwell Kantande, attracted thousands of Refugees and other friends, well-wishers and partners who took the long walk from InterAid Uganda to Nsambya Play grounds, in Makindye Division, Kampala, Uganda where the main celebrations where scheduled to take place.
“We join the rest of the world to mark this important day in the lives of Refugees, Uganda as country has stood out strong in solidarity with Refugees and we applaud that.” Mentioned the Acting Executive Director InterAid Uganda, Ms. Ijor Kalsum during her speech at the celebrations. The event that had Hon. Minister Hilary Onek as chief guest called upon solidarity of all Ugandans towards refugees and their continued support.
The celebrations were braced by; the Commissioner Office of the Prime Minister, Directorate of Refugees, Mr.Apollo David Kazungu, representatives from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) implementing partners like; Africa Humanitarian Action(AHA), Africa Imitative for Relief and Development(AIRD),American Refugee Committee(ARC)Dan Church Aid (DCA), Danish Refugee Council (DRC),Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Humanitarian Initiative Just Relief Aid(HIJSRA),Inter Aid Uganda(IAU),International Rescue Committee(IRC),Lutheran World Federation(LWF),Medical Teams International(MTI),Norwegian Refugee Council(NRC),Uganda Red Cross Society(URS), Windle Trust Uganda(WTU) and World Vision International (WVI) among others.
A total of 20 refugee and host community artists and groups performed different genres of music basing on their cultural backgrounds, skills and training, while Refugee Now Kampala showcased their trending fashion and style pieces that were designed by members of the group. We were also humbled to hear from a Refugee Community representative who expressed concern and gratitude for the hospitality and support rendered to Refugees living in Uganda. “I advise the refugee community to be grateful to Uganda, as there is no country in the whole of East Africa according to me, which is so hospitable to the refugees like Uganda. I therefore, thank the president of the republic of Uganda for his wise leadership and continued stability and the UNHCR for their continued support to Refugees through InterAid said Mr. Obedi a Congolese refugee during his remarks.
As a highlight, the woman Refugee of the year was awarded after earlier surveys and Bella Nshimirimana received the award, which came with Three million Ug. Shillings and One million Shiilings from the award, was for her own purposes while two million shillings for a community project of her choice. The award was handed to her by the Hon. Minister. Onek Hillary who in his concluding remarks at the event, promised that the government of Uganda will always stand with refugees because many Ugandans were also once refugees during the political turmoil days,when Uganda experienced a civil war.