Episode 3: Welcome home

Jonaliese has an unexpected reunion as we hear what it was like to reach the safety of the border and receive support from UNHCR.


“I could not hear any more bullet, I could not see any more blood.”

Life on the front line

Doris Mpoza, protection assistant for UNHCR

Doris Mpoza, Protection Assistant for UNHCR in the Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda.

What is the atmosphere like when people reach the safety of the settlement?

While some are visibly happy upon their arrival at a place that will be home for an unknown duration, for some refugees, they have somber/pensive looks possibly a reflection of what life holds for their families in a foreign country. There is also a sense of relief that one is finally safe from possibility of assault and threat to life and property.

You help provide people with essential items like blankets and sleeping mats. What item do you think it the most important?

It is difficult to say this item is more important than the other since they are all essential to basic needs. However, if I would choose just one, maybe a blanket. It can protect from the bad weather but also act as a mattress on dusty floor as well as a door on a temporary shelter for privacy.

You mention that people refer to UNHCR as ‘the mother’ can you elaborate on that, and how you think UNHCR plays such an important part in people’s lives?

UNHCR is viewed as a protector, provider and nurturer by the refugees. They often refer to the UNHCR logo as being a mother providing shelter and protection to her children. UNHCR ensures that in a time of uncertainty, the people can enjoy their rights to health, education, family, access to water, family planning, identification documents among others.

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All episode images: © UNHCR/Vincent Tremeau

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