Uganda had become the third largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, after Ethiopia and Kenya, with more than half a million refugees. That number is rising rapidly. Alongside ongoing crises in Burundi and DRC, violence in South Sudan has driven more refugees to Uganda.
Uganda is home to more than 512,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers. Along with a number of other basic rights, refugees in Uganda have the right to a primary education, the right to own and dispose of property, the right to practice a profession and to seek employment opportunities.
Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, has about 1.72 million inhabitants.2 The city itself is home to more than 200,000 registered refugees, but the actual figure may be higher. More and more refugees are moving out of refugee settlements and into Kampala.
Refugees who opt to stay in Kampala rather than the designated refugee settlements are expected to be self-reliant. In general, the Government of Uganda and UNHCR do not provide accommodation or material assistance to asylum seekers and refugees living in Kampala.
When they settle in a city, urban refugees are often confronted with issues similar to what the local urban poor encounter. Yet they also face additional challenges, like adapting to a new culture, learning a new language, overcoming stereotypes, and living in fear of being returned to their home country or found and harmed by a member of the opposition from their country of origin.
We are working among them, sharing gospel and discipline them. We also concern for their education and welfare.