LIVING AS A REFUGEE IN UGANDA: AN INTERVIEW WITH FATB KATILAN KHALID (4/5)

“There’s nothing specifically unique about being a refugee, but I think the life we have gone through has taught us something. Being a refugee, first of all, is not easy. The status itself, some of us receive with pride because we were suffering, but being known as a refugee, some people can actually undermine you. Secondly, when you are in the refugee settlement, you are reduced. For you to get out of the settlement to look for a way of life or money to live, you need a road permit, which is also not easy to get. Those can take almost up to two weeks. Then in Kyangwali for example, we have people with different skills. We have constructors, we have entrepreneurs, and many other skills, but the organizations here cannot use a refugee to provide them any service even though we have the skills. Because when I came here, I found people who have stayed here for years, and there was not much change. When I ended up staying here for five years, we saw there was some need to really create our own change. So being from Congo, we started by doing the traditional things we knew from Congo. Like knitting traditional bowls, weaving traditional sleeping mats, using local available resources and selling them. We decided to adopt it and train other community members who will benefit – we helped them because they did not know how to start.”

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