Children live in Refugee Camps, too!
In Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, located in Northwestern Tanzania, Martin, a 5-year-old boy in a dusty green t-shirt took the hand of Davide Prata to lead him to his house. Davide, a Church World Service (CWS) worker was in the camp to help improve it. While walking to Martin’s house, sounds of life and hope were evident, even in the midst of extreme despair. Every day Martin goes to a makeshift school made of plastic sheets (tarps) and poles, similar to the (temporary) mass shelter where he and his family live.
Nyarugusu Camp was designed to host no more than 50,000 people, but the camp is currently three times over capacity with 50,000 people still living in mass shelters.
Life in the refugee camp is difficult. There is limited movement, few opportunities for work, and in some parts of the camp, refugees had access to too little water per person per day, lower than even the ‘minimum’ standard for emergency contexts. The latrines in the camps were also full with little to no space available nearby to dig new latrines.
Today, many aid agencies are working hard to keep pace with the needs. The UCC through CWS and other partner agencies are working to build new latrines, provide storage capacity for clean water, and other services to keep the camp safe.
Today, we too can hold Martin’s hand, and walk with him on the journey to improve the refugee camp where he lives. Two new refugee sites are almost ready to open, and they will improve the quality of life at all three camps.
Soon refugees will have a more permanent dwelling place, reliable water sources and sanitation facilities. But the best improvement will be more space per person, which will allow for privacy and dignity for individuals and families.
Together we can help provide more hope and alleviate despair.
—Story adapted from Church World Service Staff: Davide Prata and Jason Knapp with permission.
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