YOUR August peace mail from Ethiopia
I remember the day I left my home in the Congo. It was 20 November 2012. Shooting and killing had come to my home town near Goma from the M23 fighters. When the fighters came, my husband, Lisembé, was shot in the leg. We fled straight away – me, my wounded husband and my two sons. We took whatever transport was available to move from town to town, seeking safety. Finally we reached the town of Ituri where my sister-in-law lives.
My husband’s leg was hurt so badly and it had gotten worse, so we found a hospital. He had to have treatment for 3 months. While we were in Ituri the fighting continued around us. Once my husband was out of hospital, we crossed the border into Uganda. We stayed for a month but there was no shelter or food. We heard people saying it was better to go to Kenya, but shortly after we heard this there were shootings in Kenya by Al Shabaab. We met a fellow refugee and he advised us that it would be best to move to a different country. The nearest was Ethiopia, so we crossed the border and came here.
Since then, we have been living as refugees in Addis Ababa. Life here is secure and safe. There are no shoot-outs and killings. But we are restricted so much in what we can do. We can’t find work and school fees are high so it is hard to make ends meet and provide for our family. Lisembé was a taxi driver in the Congo but he can’t drive with his bad leg.
I haven’t achieved much in my life, but I want my children to. I want them to study to the fullest and become somebody. The refugees in our community chat about what is going on. That is how I first heard about the computer training course run by Act for Peace’s partner EOC-DICAC (the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission). As my husband cannot work, we were identified by EOC-DICAC as a household where the woman could learn new skills. I was contacted by a worker to see if I would like to be part of the course and I happily accepted.
The course takes four months to complete and I have only just begun, but I have learned how to write an email and send it, and how to design an invitation. The course is very helpful for me – both physically and mentally. When we arrived here, we knew no one and it can be very isolating having left your family and life behind to seek safety. Now I am meeting other women like me, and we support each other instead of feeling alone – it is a way of giving me something positive in my life, and so that I can help my children with their school work using computers.
I have always been interested in designing and making invitations for birthdays and weddings. I am learning a little how to do this. It’s my favourite thing. I really enjoy the class. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
*Amba and her family’s names have been changed to protect their identity as refugees
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Please give generously to continue our life-saving work here or find out about how you can become an Act for Peace Regular Giver.
The M23 rebellion was fighting that occurred between the March 23 Movement forces and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the province of North Kivu. In April 2012, former National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) soldiers mutinied against the DRC Government and the peacekeeping contingent of the United Nations. They formed a rebel group called the March 23 Movement - M23. On 20 November 2012, M23 rebels took control of Goma, a provincial capital with a population of one million people. Just 10 days later, the conflict had forced more than 140,000 people to flee their homes for safety. Amba’s family amongst them.
Ethiopia currently hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa, with the latest UNHCR recorded figure showing close to 850,000 refugees living there. Large numbers of refugees continue to arrive daily, and resources in the refugee camps are severely overstretched.
Your gifts are helping to ensure critically ill or injured refugees can access emergency healthcare services, as well as providing ongoing support for vulnerable refugees through counselling and vocational training.
Through our partner on the ground, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC), your support is also giving vulnerable refugees access to vocational training. This training helps to build confidence and self-worth, develop livelihood skills and ultimately improve their household income.
Thanks to your generous support, courses such as computer training give refugees the opportunity to learn new skills, build their self-esteem and strengthen their financial independence.
Your support is making a difference
- $51 can pay for transport so at-risk refugees can get to and from counselling sessions in Addis Ababa
- $180 can help at-risk refugees in Addis Ababa attend basic computer skills training for four months
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Father's Day is just around the corner
This year, why not give a gift that helps rebuild lives?
Gifts for Peace has a wide selection of gifts, including gardening supplies or training and apprenticeship courses for refugees.
When you order a Gift for Peace for Father's Day, you will receive a gift card explaining the difference the gift will make. Inside the card is room for your own handwritten message. Plus, each gift card comes with its very own fridge magnet so that there is a daily reminder of the differnece their gift is making.
Order before August 21st to ensure delivery in time for Father's Day. Go to the Gifts for Peace online ordering page or call 1800 025 101.
More ways to take action
Cyclone Gita has devastated Tongan communities, destroying everything in its path. Please help provide the emergency shelter, food and clean water they desperately need.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya families have fled from violence and persecution in Myanmar. Currently living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh, they urgently need our help.
Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge during Refugee Week (June 2018) to raise money in support of refugees who have lost everything, and challenge perspectives – including your own.