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Today we have been to the Nyabiheke refugee camp: we left Kigali very early in the morning and after a couple of hours we arrived in the town of Kabarondo (100 km, in the East Province). From the main road there to the refugee camp is about 80km.
At the entrance of the camp you can see that the children are the majority of the people; they live in small shelters, about 2×3 meters each family.
We have spoken with the responsible of the camp and he told us that there are about 13.500 refugees: half of them arrived there three years ago, the others are continuously coming in these days. The refugee are all Congolese who can speak kinyarwanda.
The UNHCR is providing them some food and other NGOs seems not to be able to face the situation: they keep providing the same amount of food for a number of refugee which is always increasing (they used to have 12kg of mais each person per month, but now they get 6kg only!). Those poor people try to go around looking for job, but they are in a rural and isolated area, where there is practicaly nothing to do. Some parents leave the camp in the morning looking for food but mostly of the times they come back without anything to eat and to give to their children.
We’ve spoken with some children. We asked one small boy called Steve if he has eaten, the answer we got were tears in his eyes!
There are many newborn children in the camp: an average of 20 to 30 children born each month!
There is also a hospital in the camp, but there are a lot of hygienical problems: children are very dirty, no clothes, no soap to wash, they have insects in theirs clothes and many have skin deseas. There is HIV and pregnancy problems, malaria, malnutrition, sickness…
There are some elder children who study in secondary school, from 1st to 3rd class: They study in the camp but the school is not officially recognised. Oonly about 100 childred are able to study, others are’nt. There is an ngo called “Fawe” which cares mainly about girls, some time boys can get only schoolfees. Also “Save the children” is there in the camp, but they care only about chidren rights!
We think that the support that we are supposed to give will be like a drop in a big ocean according to what we saw there! So, better to encrease our aids if its possible…