The challenges involved in serving the humanitarian needs of refugees are complicated by a labyrinth of issues, political, religious, racial, tribal, economic, climate and food sustainability just to mention a few. It’s a dicey and vexing problem for National Governments and Humanitarian organizations like the UN High Commission on Refugees to weigh all the factors that swarm around the misfortune of displaced populations driven by forces beyond their control, to seek refugee status on foreign soil.
Adding to the litany of social causes there is the insecurities and psychological exhaustion and shock these refugees have endured which makes them often unwilling to repatriate to their homeland after 15 years of improved change have passed, making them even more unwanted and unwelcome in their host countries. The impatience and enmities created by these extreme circumstances is understandable but the unceasing daily misery (particularly the impact on children) is what motivates humanitarian activity more than analyzing the most efficient and cost-effective resolution.
In Ghana, emotional disagreements about refugee resettlement have compounded the challenges for the mostly Liberian refugees living in the Buduburam refugee Camp in Kasoa-Ghana, West Africa. Ghana has been absorbing the fallout associated with the larger regional problems endemic to West Africa, namely the regions pervasive poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to basic services, inadequate education and social infrastructures, high population growth, weak economies and porous borders. The conditions that await returning Liberian and Ivorian refugees can be worse than those in the Buduburam camp.
When the Camp was established by the UNHCR in the midst of the Liberian Civil War in 1999 it was intended to serve 5,000 refugees but the population swelled to more than 80,000 at one point. By 2009 the population in the camp was estimated at around 25,000 and it has been decreasing due to pressure from The Ghanaian Government and the UNHCR to repatriate. There are estimates of between 5,000 -10,000 remaining in the camp.
Abandoned Children’s Fund has visited this forlorn and forgotten group of refugees and taken an active roll in helping to care for the many children languishing as an abandoned people group for some time now, sending food and medicine to help rebuild sustain them while the long slow political process grinds out a solution.
This note of appreciation from one of the organizers in the relief work there came to us this week:
Thank you Abandoned Children’s Fund so much for giving us the opportunity to serve the Lord God Almighty through serving the Liberian and the Ivorian refugees at the Buduburam refugee camp in Kasoa-Ghana, West Africa.
Today we can boast that most of the refugees in our program especially the children wake up each day with surety of getting food to eat. By your help these refugees have access to sufficient and nutritious food throughout the year even though the means is limited, we are proud that through your financial support most of these refugee can go to bed with food, also the school dropout of the children has been reduced tremendously by our food program. Thank you.
We are steadily making progress among the at risk children by your partnering with us. The death toll, prostitution, stealing, sicknesses and diseases have been greatly reduced, and in our next report it will be made known to you. Our feeding program among the refugees has confirm that majority of the death, prostitution and sickness were because of poverty, unemployment, high food prices, lack of education, no access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation and lack of access to nutritious food.
We will like to take this opportunity again to thank you and pray that you continue to help us financially that the interventions be continued made to address the malnutrition and ill-health among women and children in the Buduburam refugee camp. Besides, there should be an expansion of preventive health care interventions, strengthening existing monitoring measures to detect deterioration among the refugees welfare etc.
May the lord continue to bless you and your ministry, so you can bless others and continue our partnership in saving the lives of Liberian refugees from death to life.