UCU and Reveal Light Ministry combine efforts to increase refugee awareness
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2018/11/ucu-and-reveal-light-ministry-combine-efforts-to-increase-refugee-awareness/
By Brendah Ndagire
Reveal Light Ministry, a Christian organization that works with refugee children, held a concert at Uganda Christian University (UCU) to increase awareness for the education, health care, land, housing and employment struggles for those forced to flee their homelands. This year alone Uganda has received more than one million refugees mainly from conflicted regions of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, and Eritrea.
The November 24 event organizers, Emmanuel Buyinza, the East African Director at Reveal Light Ministry, and UCU lecturer Mary Chowenhill, also sought to engage UCU students who were once refugees themselves and to raise funds to ease the poverty status of refugee children. Despite government assistance, some children go to bed hungry.
The organization has between 500 and 600 children in Hope Village Mubende district, according to Buyinza. In addition to basic necessities such as food, the Reveal Light Ministry gives “them hope through the word of God,” he said.
Buyinza and his team work with local churches to support refugee children in Uganda and through out East Africa. They have Bible studies, character development (for teenagers), and microcredit programs. Through the church’s support, they were able to get access to approximately 20 acres of land in Mubende where they plan to construct an educational hub for refugees. Currently, more than 500 refugee children in Mubende district are reportedly studying under a tree. They lack permanent school structures for primary grades. With the construction of the education hub for refugees, Reveal Light Ministries hopes to have a primary and secondary school, vocational training services and a health center.
“This is a christian university that needs to champion human rights, including the rights of refugee children to have access to education” said Juan Emmanuela Zamba, a first-year student of Human Rights Peace and Humanitarian Intervention. Even though Juan was raised in Uganda, she identifies with the experiences of refugees.
“My own country of origin, South Sudan, has had many conflicts for many years,” she said. “Uganda has been very good to my people and attending this event is an opportunity for me to give back to my home country, starting from here in Uganda.” UCU Creates opportunities such as these to allow its student to transform their communities from Mukono to Mubende.
For Aceduna Specioza Dorothy, a third-year law student, and a policy analyst at UCU’s Africa Policy Center, this event was a great reminder of her passion for children’s rights in Uganda. Life hasn’t been very kind to Aceduna. Her family was internally displaced during the two decade civil war led by the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda.
“Child labor is widely common in Uganda,” she said. “Since this event is about refugee children, I wanted to be here for them. Uganda needs lawyers who love to serve our society. And I intend to be that pro-bono type of a lawyer for children.”
She continued: “When I heard about the refugee event, I wanted to pray with Reveal Light Ministry and support them in anyway I can because I identify with their story in many ways, including studying under the tree and not having a place we could call home.”
Buyinza mentioned that additional collaboration will occur among UCU, Makerere University and Ndejje University, including with a sports marathon that would take place towards the end of January. All of these events are geared towards raising funds for refugees. He is hoping that a telecommunication company might sponsor these marathons to take place every year.
Contributions to support UgandaPartners and needy UCU students, including those with refugee connections, can be made at https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/ or through Mark Bartels, UCU Partners USA Executive Director at Uganda Christian University Partners, P.O. Box 114, Sewickley, PA 15143 USA; 214-343-6422; firstname.lastname@example.org