With the refugee communities in Uganda growing at a terrific speed, a need to channel energies of these downtrodden people has since surfaced, gained traction and earned the attention of Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation Uganda (PCRU).
In response to the challenges that have for long characterized these communities, PCRU has come up with an initiative to engage them in sports activities so as to launch careers of the young and able bodied boys and girls.
The initiative has given birth to a Refugee Sports Gala-the first of its kind and one that will take centre stage on Friday, October 22 this very year, at City Hill School (Kampala). It will commence at 9 am and conclude at 3 pm.
Five teams of refugees from Somalia, Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda and Eritrea have already registered and will be hosted by a team from Uganda to take the number of participants to six.
The sports disciplines to expect will be Tug of War, Racing and the beautiful game of football. The organizers however have a comprehensive plan of increasing the number of disciplines with the growth of the tournament.
It is only a week left until the Gala officially kicks off and Football256 caught up with Bob Mayonza, the Country Director of the PCRU, who explained more about the initiative.
“At the Pilgrim Center, we do healing, reconciliation, revitalization and restoration. The both of us know how life is for these refugees so it is all the above that helps them to settle in well,” Mayonza said.
“Depending on what they go through in their respective motherlands-mostly torture, happiness, peace and justice is just what they deserve in their new home Uganda.
“In a bid to achieve that, we believe that sports is a very big and important tool in bringing about the unity and brotherhood as a country that hosts very many people from different walks of life,” he added.
Despite the project starting as a one day Sports Gala, the intention is to turn it into an annual tournament that will accommodate various sports disciplines.
The inaugural tournament will prioritize the central region but the long term plan is to later spread the wings to the different refugee camps across the country according to the organizers.
“The Gala next week will be the launch for the tournament which we intend to host in the central region next year but the belief is that we can also have it via the different settlements in time to come,” Mayonza highlighted.
“We have settlements like Kiryandongo, Omugo, Chaka, Nyamweru and others. We really want to go to the northern and southern regions but to do that, we have to first see how it all turns out within the central region,” Mayonza noted.
At the Gala on Friday next week, football will be the centre of focus and the winner, first and second runners up will all be rewarded with prizes on the day.