Houses of Hope are being created in Uganda’s Bidibidi refugee camp – places where children will receive help with homework, extra meals and the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities – the director of the Polish branch of the Pontifical Association Aid to the Church told emergency, Rev. Waldemar Cisło.
At a press conference organized on Wednesday at the PAP Press Center in Warsaw, a reporter working in Uganda, Father Andrzej Dzida, noted that since 2013, hostilities have caused about 3.5 million people to flee South Sudan, of whom approximately. 1.2 million went to Uganda.
“Currently, 300,000 Sudanese live in Bidibidi, Uganda’s largest refugee camp. 80 percent of them are children and young people who need access to education,” he said.
According to Father Dzida, the schools in the camp are overcrowded, with about 300 students in one class. “These kids come home from school – or rather a cabin, a cabin – many children live in one cabin, sometimes six or seven” – he explained. As he added, there is no electricity in these houses, and because children can only do their homework at night, they have to do it by candlelight.
He informed that the recruiting missionaries, with the support of the Polish military contingent, decided to build Homes of Hope for the children of the camp, which would serve them as educational and pastoral centers.
“These children can come to the center after school, do their homework, meet, study” – he explained. He notes that the centers also organize extracurricular activities, such as pantomime and theater workshops. “We have a stage in the center where children can showcase their talents,” he said.
fr. Paweł Antosiak of PKWP said that not all children in the Bidibidi camp go to school. “Children who do not go to school can receive primary education, learn to read and write in the center,” he noted.
He added that the residents of the Bidibidi camp also suffer from insufficient rations so that children can eat an extra meal in the center.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced food rations for the camp residents by almost half. The outbreak of the war in Ukraine threatens that these food rations – which are already insufficient today – will be further reduced. educational activities, the children received an extra meal there” – he noted.
He explained that the first House of Hope had now opened and there were plans to open four more so that an education center would be built in each of the five parts of the Bidibidi camp. “Every week, about 1.5-2 thousand children use the lessons in one center” – he emphasized.
Each center must be 30 meters long and 10 meters wide. The building contains gutters that drain the rainwater to the cistern, which can then be used, for example, for washing hands. Electricity is generated by solar panels. fr. Antosiak informed that the cost of building one center is about 60 thousand PLN. euros.
The project can be supported by making a donation to the account of the Friend of Mission Foundation: 65 1020 1068 0000 1502 0147 7132 with the message “Bidibidi”.
Director of the Polish Branch of the Pontifical Association Aid to the Aid to the Church in Need, Fr. Waldemar Cisło says that PKWP also organizes the action “Holidays from war and bad memories”, where more than a hundred children from Aleppo and Homs in Syria can go to Malula for a week of rest.
“The Polish military contingent has been helping in Syria for many years, where the war has been going on for 11 years. We know that the greatest victims of the war are the weakest – women and children. Thanks to the holiday, we want to give children from these regions a moment of peace so that they can forget the nightmare they survived,” he explained.
He noted that a week’s stay for hundreds of children in Malula costs about 3,000. dollars. “We want to organize a few such camps so that as many children as possible can benefit from them” – he added.
fr. Cisło noted that a similar project was carried out by the Polish military contingent for children from Irbil in Iraq. “There the children also received the care of psychologists who helped them process war traumas. We do that in Syria too. a week” – noted Fr. Cisło.
Aid to the Church in Not (Kirche in Not) supports Catholics in 140 countries. The assistance includes: media evangelism, theological education, biblical apostolate, pastoral assistance, catechesis, mass scholarships, means of transport and construction assistance. Aid to the Church in Need was founded in 1947 by a Dutch Norbertaan, Father Werenfried van Straaten (1913-2003). (DAD)
Author: Iwona Żurek
i / joz /