Plumbing skills enable refugees to support their families
When refugees flee their home countries to others, due to conflict, a lot of uncertainties await them in unknown land. In addition, there are limited opportunities available for them in the countries they are hosted.
But some refugees do overcome their tribulations and find opportunities to better their lives. For instance two men in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement, Uganda have acquired skills that have enabled them secure jobs.
Joseph Okwera and Mari Siliman, both aged 30, have been able to secure employment as plumbers, after undergoing a one-month plumbing course, offered by AAH Uganda.
After Okwera, a father of six, completed his training, he volunteered with AAH Uganda for three years. During this period he was hired to undertake short contracts. In 2009, he was employed by AAH Uganda as a pump attendant. Last year, he was promoted to the position of a pump technician.
“I am able to provide for my family through the pay I get. I have been able to improve my plumbing skills over time,” says Okwera, with a grin.
He fled conflict in Pajok, South Sudan in 2000, while Siliman came to Kyangwali in 2004. He also fled conflict from the same country.
What seemed to be a journey of uncertainty turned into a blessing for the duo when AAH Uganda started the training initiative on plumbing skills under its Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) programme.
Thirty people, most of them refugees, have been trained on plumbing, survey, borehole repair, and testing of water quality. Okwera and Siliman are part of a larger team that is charged by AAH Uganda to repair community boreholes and other water sources within the settlement. They also train locals how to maintain hygiene and report cases of borehole breakdown. The organisation has conducted two training sessions.
“I am proud to give back to Kyangwali community through training other people in similar skills,” said Siliman, a father four. “I am confident that I can get another job through skills imparted by AAH Uganda. I am able to provide for my children and wife through my pay.”
Okwera shares almost similar sentiments, “I hope to train more refugees to have skills like mine, or even better.”
AAH-I carries out multi-sectoral interventions in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement. The key strategic sectors of the programme that were implemented in 2015 were community services, social protection, education, heath, livelihood, environment and energy and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
In livelihoods sector, among the programme’s accomplishments were eight commercial groups supported on appropriate agronomic practices for key crops, 167 farmers facilitated for learning visits and 240 refugees supported in various Income Generating Activities (IGAs).