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Refugee children get opportunity to study at night as govt ponders opening schools

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th July 2020 12:08 PM

Ocea-C refugee information desk, which was set up in 2017 by the Danish Refugee Council was last month upgraded to a multi- purpose centre that will among other things allow for learners to study there in the evening hours.

Refugee children get opportunity to study at night as govt ponders opening schools

Lighting was also extended to health centres

Ocea-C refugee information desk, which was set up in 2017 by the Danish Refugee Council was last month upgraded to a multi- purpose centre that will among other things allow for learners to study there in the evening hours.

As Uganda struggles with how to educate children in the Covid-19 times, residents of Ocea-C zone in Rhino Can refugee Settlement in Arua have got a reason to smile.

Ocea-C refugee information desk, which was set up in 2017 by the Danish Refugee Council was last month upgraded to a multi- purpose centre that will among other things allow for learners to study there in the evening hours.
 
Isaac Bingos, an information and security officer, says the desk was set up to provide refugees a place to report their matters to officials who would then forward them to authorities.

"When I joined the camp from Yei in South Sudan in 2016, there were a lot of unresolved cases of violence among settlers, domestic violence as well as theft and attacks from neighbouring communities," Bingos says, adding that the desk also serves to pass out information from officials to the refugees.
 
Last month, an outdoor solar light was installed in the compound of the information hub, while three indoor lights were installed inside the building housing the desk. This was done to allow continued access to the hub even in the dark of the night. The installations are part of a donation that was earlier in May made to the COVID-19 national Task Force by Dembe Group, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Signify Foundation.
 
Following the outbreak of the Novel coronavirus pandemic across the world, the DRC, working with strategic partners sought to intervene to offer critical emergency care for the vulnerable in the refugee settlement.

Expectant mothers, women and the elderly as well as children were identified among the most vulnerable that needed the critical emergency intervention in the uncertain times.

[image_library_tag b9e1429a-a066-4eb9-bd9c-425e18b75518 720x1080 alt="Medical workers consult during a night shift at Ofua Health Centre III. Previously, attending to patients was nearly impossible due to lack of lighting in the wards." width="720" height="1080" ]
Medical workers consult during a night shift at Ofua Health Centre III. Previously, attending to patients was nearly impossible due to lack of lighting in the wards.


According to Jean-Christophe Saint-Esteben, the DRC country director, it is believed that access to electricity in refugee settlements is key in the provision of quality education and continued learning for children who are currently locked home following the closure of schools due to COVID-19.

The donation is aimed at improving lives of refugees and other Ugandans, by providing opportunities for continuity of life even in the uncertain times.

"Providing indoor and outdoor street lighting, during such a time, will help improve response to COVID-19 and reduce risk of gender-based violence, other protection and other security challenges in the community," Saint-Esteben said.

The partners identified refugee settlements as some of the most at risk from this pandemic and thus the need to help them.

Martha Osiro, the programme manager for Signify Foundation Uganda, said: "The focus on refugee camps is to provide security lighting, and also help with the lighting of health centres where midwives had been using phone torches in the process of delivering babies, and where surgeons had been using poor lighting."

The strategy is to help the 1.4 million refugees in Uganda to access energy which will transform lives and communities.

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