by Ephraim Tumusiime
When I look at the faces of refugees in northern Uganda and imagine that I could be one of them, tears stream from my eyes. What if I had been born across the Ugandan border? Where would I be now? and what help would I hope to receive?
There were nearly 83,000 refugees in the Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement by Christmas 2016. The same camp had 20,000 one year earlier. This phenomenal increase has put a lot of pressure on the service providers like us. As our staff attend the coordination meetings for service providers within the camp and pass this information to us, we pray that the Lord will intervene in the South Sudan situation. The refugees suffer from shortage of literally everything they need for survival. They have limited food, limited water and sub-standard housing.
DOVE Uganda/Touch Africa Now (TAN) has been working in the Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in Arua district for over three years focusing in the area of education. We currently run three Early Childhood Development centers; others we had been managing were taken over by the government as we did not have adequate funds for the work.
The government sets and enforces a certain level of standards; they require semi-permanent buildings with cemented floors, permanent and clean latrines, large fenced open play spaces and qualified teachers. Whoever is providing education in the refugee camp must give it for free!
We are here representing Christ among these refugees who are hopeless about their future. We make friends with the children so as to reach their parents too for Christ. As a result, two DOVE congregations are established in the camp. We are praying that the Lord will bring men of peace in this area of suffering so that even more churches will be planted. When peace will come to their respective nations, we will build on those relationships and establish Bible-believing churches in South Sudan, Congo and Burundi!
We are thankful to God for those who have sponsored teachers’ salaries, donated money for feeding the children and even bought them uniforms.We still have many challenges, including transportation for field activities, funds to construct classrooms, fencing in our current ECD centers, outdoor play equipment, teaching materials such as chalk boards and charts, and even cleaning materials.
Pray with us that the Lord will provide funding so that we may meet these challenges “Then the King will say…’Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, … For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:34-35).