It is a good idea to accommodate refugees. Because today it is their day, tomorrow it may be yours. If you don’t accommodate them it is bad spirit. It is good to live together. And we should continue to accommodate people who are coming.

Jeska Akru

Refugee Integration

Portrayal of aid recipient communities within Western media too often frames communities as passive victims of circumstance. A key theme raised by participants during Stories from Rhino Camp was the very active role community are taking not only to respond to environmental challenges, but also how host communities have facilitated the integration of refugees into Uganda.

Participants highlighted many issues linked to the theme of community, but emphasised two key themes which had the most significant impact on how community is shaped in the area: refugee integration and gender inequality. 

According to me everyone should be treated like a human being. No matter if you are a refugee or national. Because it is a situation where somebody has come to your home with problems. Then you have to provide a good place because they have problems. And with NGOs they should not segregate between nationals and refugees. That is the best way.

Mutto Dinya

This woman had just found out her son had been killed in Sudan. She is moving through the village crying in grief telling people © Rose Akandru, March 2018

This is a married couple who always work together. He was a refugee and she is a local. Whatever comes from the field they agree and sell together. They manage the money together © Josephine Dawru, February 2018

We have all benefited from the settlement of refugees because markets are near, even the health centres and schools are being brought to us. And sometimes, even during dry season, the food that is bought for the refugees, they sell, so if you don’t have food at home you go buy and come back and you have that kind of food coming.

Josephine Dawru

This is a refugee Richard Lupai. This is a good example that if you prepare land in the dry season you can be rewarded. Nationals can learn from this © Denis Adrabo, February 2018

This is Kabaka Musenge. He is being defeated because he is alone at home. Since he has arrived in Uganda he has separated from his family. Since then he is traumatised. He hardly eats as he is always thinking of his family. They are in Sudan © Wani Joseph, March 2018

These are friends who are refugees and nationals. It shows integration in the camp. They stay in the trading centre together socialising © Denis Adrabo, March 2018

We have good relationships with the nationals. Because when we came, before we don’t know each other. And from there it was challenging. The language they are using since at that time we don’t know the languages, indeed it was a big problem. We find that women are forever fighting at the borehole... Someone will come and say this is my land and so on. Because we  don’t understand each other. They may say something and we feel they want to fight us. When we talk they may also think we want to fight. But slowly through our interaction and our good staying, we learnt the local language. Now the little we know, we have that communication. Even more our children now speak the local language more than our language. 

If the whole world can take how refugees are treated here in Uganda, where there is freedom of movement it would be good. And also given land for them to grow something - especially food... When I was here it was not like other parts of the world where refugees are not allowed to move anyhow. I talked to those one who went to Kenya, and they told us they were fenced in one place. Unless you want to go to town which means you have to get a permit. But here in Uganda we are free to move, even during the day and night. We attend discos with nationals. We dance with them together. Time for leisure we are together with them. Although we don't know the local language which is Lugbara. But we still interact with those ones that can speak English, and there are also some who can speak Arabic. I think us staying here is good.

Wani Joseph

This is a group of catholics called the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. They go outside after service to share their views and say short prayers before they leave © Jeska Akru, February 2018

These people are refugees. They are employed to ease communication for the NGOs because these people can speak well to the refugees © Wani Joseph, February 2018

These people are helping construct a staff house in Olojobu primary school. The man in the front is a teacher who is doing the work. The man on the right in the white vest is his son © Jeska Akru, February 2018

Gender Inequality

Gender inequality is a significant issue raised by female photographers, with alcoholism amongst some men in the community causing increasing problems. Reduced yields as a result of climate change and unresolved trauma from the war often manifest within households and it is women who have to ensure essential farm and household work is completed.

With few government services available to victims of domestic violence, farming and savings groups provide food and financial security which have allowed women to leave abusive relationships. Further to narratives presented in the agriculture gallery, farm and savings groups are not only of material benefit, but are a critical social support network for women. Through the images and narratives, photographers were able to show how women support each other while carrying the burden of work.

Women in the community are being overworked because they are doing each and every work that is needed. For men they are selective about what work they do. 

Grace Candiru

They are generally isolated issues. There are homes that are doing well. But in homes where there are problems you will usually find alcohol causing these things.

Josephine Dawru

This is communal work done by women. Some are married and some are widows. They help one another to get a good size of land for agricultural work © Josephine Dawru, February 2018

This women is collecting posts to build a home. She divorced from her husband so she is trying to start again © Josephine Dawru, February 2018

This lady is preparing mandazi. She sells the mandazi outside Olojobu health centre to support her home © Rose Akandru, February 2018

Of late the good thing is that women are involving themselves in saving groups. Even if you don’t have a big income you would go for some work and bring little money which you would save as part of the saving group. I feel this could help to overcome problems in the home - violence in the home. The money you save now can bring you income in the future. That is the good part of women in the community right now.

Jeska Akru

This is a group of women saving money. They meet to discuss the finances. In total there are about 30 people in the group including some men © Wani Joseph, February 2018

Sometimes it happens that the man will try to prove to be big and refuse to do some work. Then you as the women continue to do the work yourself. But when the yield is out, he then becomes the boss of everything. By selling, and taking the money and giving very little for the woman which may not be enough money for the home. And this money he manages the rest of it.

Josephine Dawru

These two women have husbands who don't do much work. They work together to help each other © Josephine Dawru, March 2018

This lady is a widow. Although very weak she is continuing to do cleaning around her plantation. She is trying to remove some yams so they can be cooked © Josephine Dawru, February 2018

This is Grace Bakog. She is in her hotel. She normally cooks food, making tea and mandazi. This is her main source of income. She is alone. Her husband was traumatised from the war and drunk a lot. After seperating with the husband he went back to Sudan © Wani Joseph, February 2018

Diria is carrying firewood from far away in the bush. She is pregnant. The old women who is Gamba was surprised to see her carrying so much, and she was telling her that this can impact on the baby © Wani Joseph, February 2018

This is my grandmother Ayaba. When we are not at home working on the farm she looks after the home and cares for the children © Jeska Akru, February 2018

Explore more stories: Click on the link to learn about the impacts of Climate Change in Rhino Camp

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