Refugees ask for support to promote talents

Congolese refugee youth musicians asking for support to promote their talent. (Photo: John Kibego)

Armed civil unrest has had a crushing impact on fulfilling dreams among the youths who forcibly flee their homes to neighbouring countries to salvage their lives.

The savage conflicts propelled by socio-political and tribal bigotry break connections and financial support that would otherwise be used to trigger career development among them.

The turbulences result in everybody fleeing into disarray to save their lives leaving their relatives and friends behind.

Craving for engagement in their intrinsic music performance, most Congolese youths from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are currently failing to live up to their expectations. These youths long to follow the footsteps of their role model artists like the late Arlus Mabele, Kofi Olomide and Awilo Longomba who star on the international scene.

Bambale singing

Sasusi Bambale, of the New Boys Group of Artists and Dramatists in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement is among the youth keeping eyes on international music maestros. He is unhappy that his dreams are thinning in a refugee settlement.

“I have no musical instruments, and now I am just struggling and things are not working out. I need at least a mixer and an amplifier or a guitar to get started,” he says downheartedly.

Bambale on support

Bambale says with a monetary backing of about Shs6m, he sees himself at the level of the late Michael Jackson.

Bambale on funds

Jean Puti Swaga also from the same settlement calls for support from both the government of Uganda and the international community so that their dreams do not crash due to the conflict in the DRC and life as a refugee.

Swaga on support
Refugee youths entertaining people in acrobats at a World Refugee Day in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Kikuube District in 2017. (Credit: John Kibego)

As an old English adage states that east or west, home is best, these refugee youth cannot escape nostalgia. Traditional dance is among the performances that the refugees are missing to promote.

Students from Kyangwali Refugee Settlement have over the years been scoring highly in sports and athletics in Hoima district.

Ms Duniya Aslam Khan, the Communications Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Uganda says the commission acknowledges the need to boost refugee youths to develop their talents.

However, she says the resource envelope in most cases does not allow the commission to fund all the refugee youths’ needs.

“We try to do all we can to ensure the youths are assisted because we know how such talents can turn into sources of livelihood for them,” she says.

Ms Duniya continues that there are many talents among the refugees and appreciates the government of Uganda for allowing them space to promote their talents in schools and other platforms.

She pledges that UNHCR will continue doing everything possible especially mobilising and supporting refugee youths to promote their talents.

Uganda is home to more than 1.3 million refugees from neighbouring countries with majority being youths and children.


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