Anthony’s Story, Uganda
Anthony-Jimmy Nguka Kafenibenda is a Congolese refugee in Kyaka II refugee settlement, Uganda. He worked as a volunteer at the settlement’s youth centre for a year after completing a UNHCR sponsored BA degree. He is now employed and plans to study for a Master’s degree. He helps to co-ordinate activities for the youth across the entire settlement. In Uganda refugees live in settlements, not tented camps, where they are given land and materials to build their own houses as well as seeds to grow crops to eat.
“My name is Anthony-Jimmy, I’m Congolese by nationality. I’ve been in Kyaka II settlement for the past 10 years. Before coming to Uganda, I studied until senior 6, so when I came to the settlement here, UNHCR supported me and they sent me to University where I did a 3 year bachelor of arts in development studies. When I was in the Congo I wouldn’t have had the chance to go to university, so that is one thing that makes me very happy.
Sometimes people think that being a refugee is the end of the world, that it is filled with suffering, but being a refugee does not mean that it is the end of your life, you can still continue, and there are many chances that you can get when you’re a refugee. For instance studying for free, accommodation … everything. I’m encouraging my brother and sister refugees who are here in the settlements to not get discouraged, to not think that this is the end of their life. We are doing well and we shall do better, even if we are refugees we shall do better, whatever we really want to reach, we can reach and whatever we want to do we can still do even if we are refugees.
There is no segregation and there is no difference between being refugees and nationals. That is what I want to tell my people. We ran because of the war in our country (the Congo), yes, we overcame a lot of challenges, and even sometimes we spent nights in the bush, but God kept us and when we entered Kyaka II, Uganda, UNHCR and the government of Uganda welcomed us. Now we are living very well and if someone comes to visit they will find it difficult to differentiate between nationals and refugees.”