As the Sudanese refugee crisis escalates, the flow on effect of volunteer work in Africa also changes accordingly. The latest numbers from UNHCR show that there are currently 955,263 Sudanese refugees in Uganda awaiting registration.
But what does this mean from a human perspective?
It’s all well and good for news sources to quote numbers, but that’s exactly what they are; numbers, percentages, statistics. They leave out the real-world element of humans escaping their homeland to save their lives.
After years of fighting, famine, and finally economic collapse, people have been fleeing South Sudan at a rate of 2800 people per day. These people need food, shelter, and hope, so they have turned to Uganda, as Uganda has one of the most compassionate refugee policies in the world.
For context, the refugee settlement in Bidi Bidi is the biggest refugee settlement on the planet, hosting a staggering 270,000 refugees.
With the unstable politics of Sudan, people have been forced from their homes to escape the violence and famine, moving from town to town as war eventually catches up with them. With nowhere left to run, they turn to Uganda, who has been welcoming them with open arms.
However, due to a lack of international aid, the border towns are at breaking point. People queue for hours for a bowl of porridge, others wait days for medical assistance, and children have taken to relieving themselves in public rather than subject themselves to the conditions of the latrines.
The refugee crisis also affects volunteer work in Africa, as volunteers are given an opportunity to help more people in desperate need of support.
Sudanese Refugee Crisis: Affecting Volunteer Work in Africa
For people taking part in volunteer work in Africa, their efforts are even more important than ever given the current Sudanese refugee crisis.
In April, we had 14 Sudanese refugees register with ONE of our orphanages. Just one. I was only in that orphanage for four nights, and I can tell you it’s a struggle to keep people together, to keep siblings together. It’s a struggle because they don’t know the local language. It’s a struggle because they have LOST everything.
They no longer have parents that can love them, nurture them, and see them grow up. These kids are alone. And as a society, we only have ourselves to blame. We’re too advanced as a civilisation to be allowing war to rip families apart. It’s 2017. Why should a child grow up as an orphan!?
This presents a huge opportunity for people volunteering in Uganda to help these children. So many of them need counselling, they need to feel loved, and sometimes, the best medicine is simply for someone to be there with a friendly smile and an ability to spend time playing with them and listening to their stories.
If you’re ready to step up and make a difference in a refugees life, please apply for one of our Africa volunteer programs today.