ISSN 1710-6931 February 13, 2009 Issue 139

Making Education Possible through Adult Literacy Program

RESPECT University in Uganda, through its Refugee Law Program (RLP), has been operating free adult literacy programs to refugees from various African countries.

Joan McDonald, RESPECT University field coordinator who is also a volunteer instructor at the RLP's Adult Literacy Program, explained the program is intended to increase refugees' ability to communicate in English.

A non-English speaking Somali refugee, Mohammed Abdullahi Hassan, said that learning English provided him tremendous flexibility in communication. When he arrived in Uganda, he didn't speak any English; it was even difficult for him to request a glass of water.

Winnie Agabo, the head of education and training at RLP explained how the program started. Many refugees from different neighboring countries arrived in Uganda with no English knowledge. One of RLP's goals was to help them testify with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), so people behind the wars and genocides can be brought to justice. For many, because of their inabilities to speak English, it was nearly impossible to tell their stories even with the presence of interpreters.

Agabo added that many refugees want to continue their education. It's unfortunate that RLP doesn't provide scholarships, although Agabo believes the Literacy Program would serve well as the first stepping-stone to achieve the refugees' goals. Education


A sign promoting the Assembly of Good News for All Nations

A sign promoting the Assembly of Good News for All Nations.


Bringing Good News to Refugee Youth

Ernest Bugumba is the founder and executive secretary of Assembly of Good News for all Nations Youth (AGNY). AGNY is a youth and children refugee's organisation in Republic of South Africa (RSA), supporting 116 refugees from different war-torn countries of Africa. AGNY aims to prepare and empower youth for future endeavor through education.

Ernest Alimasi Bugumba was born in Uvira, South Kivu, in the DRCongo. He escaped the 1998 massacre in Makabola, Uvira also in the DRCongo and managed to reach the refugee camp on foot after a week, solely surviving on rain water.

He has completed high school in RSA. Ernest loves computer and he has a Diploma in Information Technology. His hobbies are reading, writing and video filming. Ernest believes in the power of GEN X. He thinks with positive thinking, zeal and commitment youth can change the world.

His plans for AGNY are: to start a computer centre to train refugee youth and children and to collaborate with RESPECT International for cultural letter exchange. The objective is for refugees to share stories and make friends through exchanging letters, which will give them joy and hope for a brighter future.

Despite challenges, like shortage of study material, computer and finance, he wants to support more refugees that are affected by recent xenophobic attacks and that are disabled, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS.

As in any newsletter or magazine, RESPECT e-zine is committed to striving for interesting articles and announcements concerning refugee issues all around the world.

If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute an article, contact the e-Zine editor, Angela Carter, at

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