Florence’s Story, Uganda

Photo By:L.Beck/2014

Photo by L. Beck/2014.

20 year old Rwandan refugee Florence Zaninka was too young to remember her and her family’s flight from Rwanda to Uganda after the 1994 genocide. She has had to piece together the tragedy from fragments of stories told her by family members. She has spent her whole life growing up in Oruchinga refugee settlement in south west Uganda and knows no other home. She finds solace in music and drama.

“I came to Uganda in 1994 when I was just a baby and I am now 20 years old. I was told the story from my parents about how they migrated from Rwanda to Uganda. I heard that they came  because of war. There was no peace in Rwanda because of the politics and the president who didn’t want the Banyarwanda to settle there. They ran until they arrived in Uganda.  I feel upset when they tell me the story, because my family is powerless;  you feel sad because you don’t have any way to make your family become rich and if you want to be an educated person and go to school you don’t have enough money for school fees.

In Uganda at least I feel happy because I have peace. My best memory from growing up in Oruchinga refugee settlement is studying. I was 10 years old the first day I went to school and I went to the primary school, I didn’t have enough school fees to afford a whole term, but when I was able to attend school I loved it, especially because I am a member of the drama club. I have enjoyed singing from a very young age. Sometimes God created people who were born to sing– you sit somewhere and you compose a song – God gave me that talent.”

1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at UNHCR.org