Filling the Gap

Claude Nsabimana has faced great hardships in his 24 years on earth, but he has faced them with his family; his father and mother. He was born and lived in Rwamagana, Rwanda.

In 1994, when he was 3 years old, a genocide broke out, and he and his parents fled their home, and took refuge in Uganda.

They settled in Oruchinga settlement camp, Isingiro district.  It is there, that he has grown up, and known as home. In 2014, Claude was arrested and detained at Kyamugoranyi Prison in Mbarara.

In the process of his arrest, detainment and imprisonment, Claude lost contact with his father.

“My Father doesn’t know where I am, where I have been for 2 years”, Claude explained.

For 2 years and 4 months, Claude has waited for a message or visit from his father. In the abyss of this uncertainty Claude, HIJRA has been there to support him mentally and legally, and provide his basic needs because it is what his father would have done. HIJRA has also been helping him track down his father.

Claude has lived through a lot of hardships, but he has taken a positive outlook on life. Though he does not have the support of his family, he has the support of HIJRA. He has enrolled in school and HIJRA is supporting his education by providing exercise books, pens and text books. His favorite subject is English and speaks it eagerly and with confidence.

Claude looks at his future with hope. “I want to be a teacher. I want to work with Right to play in Oruchinga camp, teaching children to play football”, he says with a smile.

Today, HIJRA protection staff and a UNHCR representative visited Claude in prison. He happily received his items such as soap, Vaseline, shavers, blankets and a variety of other Non-food items.

HIJRA under its protection programme, has provided and supported refugees like Claude. “Most of these refugees do not have relatives or their relatives have given up on them. So, HIJRA gives support to refugees in prison to help them meet their basic needs,” Dorris Mpoza, Head of Protection, Oruchinga explains.

Some like Ntezirayo Deodone, an inmate in Mbarara main prison, have been abandoned by their families. Deodone’s wife fled with his 2 children after his imprisonment to Tanzania, and married another man.

Despite the absence of their families, HIJRA is meeting the gap by visiting, counselling and encouraging them.

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