Meet Philemon, Save the Children caregiver in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement

Friday 13 April 2018

Twenty-six-year-old Philemon Baguma works as a caregiver at Save the Children’s child-friendly space (CFS) in Malembo C, Kyangwali refugee settlement. UNICEF defines a child-friendly space as a place where children affected by natural disasters or armed conflict can be provided with a safe environment, and where integrated programming including play, recreation, education, health and psychosocial support can be delivered.

Save the Children's child-friendly spaces are regarded as a one-stop centre, for not only do children come to play; during the first half of the day the young ones (3-6-year-olds) get to participate in early childhood development programmes that equip them with basic numeracy and literacy skills. Staff are also able to identify children in need of further help such as psychosocial and medical services, and support them to get the assistance they need.

As a caregiver, Baguma participates in teaching the 3-6-year-old children. He is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo and arrived in Uganda December 2017. He says:

“We were asleep when I was woken by the sound of bullets one night back in Congo. Scared, I just ran out of the house. I ran with other people towards the shore of Lake Albert, where we got onto a canoe belonging to one of my friends. We were only two men on the canoe which was full of women and children, and rowed all the way to Uganda in turns. It was very tiring but we finally got here.

“I have got a job at the CFS and I am happy about it. It enables me to help our (Congolese) children recover from the war and live normal lives.

Save the Children continues to support Congolese refugees in settlements in Rwamwanja, Kyangwali and Kyaka II, as well as transit centres in Nyakabande and Matanda with programmes in child protection and education.

Save the Children has 19 child-friendly spaces in the Congolese refugee response – Rwamwanja (11 CFS), Kyangwali (5), Nyakabande (1), Matanda (1) and Kyaka (1). These are accessed by a total of 8,399 children.

Besides running the child-friendly spaces, Save the Children supports family reunification by working with the Uganda Red Cross, as well as placing unaccompanied children under foster care.

In established settlements such as Rwamwanja and Kyangwali, Save the Children runs an Accelerated Learning Programme, which targets children who had dropped out of school. These are taught on an accelerated programme that enables them complete primary education in three years.

By Sylvia Nabanoba, Communications Coordinator, Country Office