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Refugee project hit by foreign aid cuts

By Opportunity International

The difficult life of a refugee living in Uganda just got harder. Covid-19 created a poverty crisis for refugees that will take longer to overcome than the health crisis threatened by the pandemic. It exacerbated all the challenges that refugees already face: fewer children will return to school, business instability will increase, and with the UK Government recently announcing cuts to their Aid Budget the challenge of social and economic inclusion for refugees is growing.

Our innovative programme working with refugees in Uganda has never been more vital. Yet, the recent foreign aid cuts by the UK Government will have a direct impact on this life-changing programme.  The decision to withdraw funding means that 8,000 refugees and their families will no longer be able to grow their businesses, support their families, and send their kids to school.    

So, what has happened?

In 2020, UK Government funding was approved for our three-year programme working with 20,000 Refugees in Western Uganda. But, recently the UK Government has stopped grants to many small international development charities like Opportunity International. This is a huge set-back. We’re having to reduce the number of people we can help to 12,000.  Thousands of refugee households will be unable to access the financial services, training and support they need to build a secure and sustainable livelihood.

The UK Government’s decision will deny thousands of families the opportunity to live a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.

Photo by Kate Holt 

Scaled down – but still continuing

While funding remains uncertain, we cannot let down the refugees we have promised to help. We are developing and adapting our programme and are confident in the compassion and dedication of our supporters to help us continue. 

With continued help from our supporters, we will:

-              Give women purpose and dignity, and increase their confidence and self-esteem. Financial literacy training will help women gain control over their resources, and increase their participation in household decision making, particularly regarding financial matters.

-              Strengthen relationships between refugees and people living in the places hosting them. Relationships have deteriorated with the arrival of Covid-19 in Uganda, host communities see refugees as high-risk group for Covid-19 and are integrating with them less, which further isolates refugees. We’re working towards co-existence where both communities contribute to each other’s lives and both benefit from Income Generation Activities.

The refugees we serve are skilled people with business ideas, drive and determination. They are talented artists, hairdressers, educators, farmers and tailors. We know that we can help them build secure and stable livelihoods. We can give opportunities for refugees to lift themselves out of poverty and work towards a brighter future.  Will you help us?

What can you do?

  • Donate to our Refugee Project and help us fulfil our promise to help people living in uncertainty. Follow this link to help today
  • Share our content and raise awareness. Keep an eye out for videos from Nakivale refugee settlement and client stories coming soon as we deep-dive into our projects during Refugee Week, 14-20th June. You can find client stories, updates and the latest news on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube
  • Sign up to our emails to be the first to hear about our projects and get invited to information webinars where you can meet our clients and team
  • City A.M. recently interviewed our CEO, Sam Bickersteth about the impact of the cuts on our work. You can read the interview here.

Photo by Helen Manson

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