For refugees, escaping war and persecution in their home countries doesn’t result in the end of all struggle. Resettling comes with its own host of challenges. In addition to the trauma they already experienced which led to them fleeing their homes, they are then faced with language and communication barriers, differing cultures, and separation from loved ones and community while entering into an unfamiliar setting.
Many find shelter in temporary settlements such as refugee camps. Oftentimes, overcrowding in these camps causes dangerous shortages of food as well as access to jobs.
The Kiryandongo Refugee Camp in Uganda is one example of a temporary settlement currently accommodating refugees from Kenya, Congo, Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda. One of our local partners, Pastor Thomas, lives in this camp with his family after they fled the ongoing effects of war in South Sudan. He is a missionary with the Evangelical Free Church in South Sudan, a locally-led organization we have been in partnership with since 1992.
He knows firsthand the challenges refugees in this camp are facing as he finds himself in the midst of the same situation himself. By listening to others and walking alongside this community as they face these hardships together, Pastor Thomas has built lasting relationships that are founded on trust and unity.
After starting multiple churches in the camp and serving other refugees through mentorship, he has found a common need amongst the community. There is a severe lack of job opportunities available not just in the camp, but also in Uganda. On top of what these refugees are already facing in the midst of uncertainty and their unfamiliar environments, they also are struggling to provide for themselves and their families.
Pastor Thomas believes starting a chicken business will serve the community in two ways: it will create more job opportunities as well as provide another source of food for the community. Both of these solutions will also reignite purpose in the lives of these refugees as well as improve their quality of life.
After much consideration, Pastor Thomas and his community have found that chickens will be easier to take care of in comparison to other livestock, especially considering the limited resources they have in the refugee camp. Chicken feed is also much cheaper than other animal feed which will aid in a more profitable business. Pastor Thomas has found three other people who will be working with him who have previous experience with chickens which will positively impact the success of the business as well.
Initially, together with our local partner, we will purchase 600 chickens, 300 of which will lay eggs and the other 300 will be sold as meat in the market. In preparation, Pastor Thomas has spoken with multiple vendors who roast chickens and are interested in buying from him, as well as grocery stores where the eggs can be sold. Though this project will continue to provide more job opportunities for these refugees as it expands, it will also supply food to the community which is currently extremely malnourished.
Our mission is to make communities look more like the Kingdom of God, and we believe starting a chicken project in the Kiryandongo Refugee Camp will do just that. By creating a sustainable income for those who have left their homes and livelihoods in search of safety, our desire is to renew hope and purpose, ultimately showing the love of God and breaking cycles of poverty.
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