From the days of its creation, it became obvious to the small community formed at Bondeko Refugee Livelihoods Centre that they should rather rely on Self-Reliance Strategies than on chronic dependency assistance.
In addition to offering shelter, food, and newcomer orientation in the asylum process, Bondeko Centre become a place where the resilience, the innovation, and the determination of refugees to support one another were taking place.
The Baking Section of the Bondeko Livelihoods Program began in January 2015, with a small oven located in the back of the Centre. Four people with their trainees were baking rolls and frying donuts. They were selling their products in the neighborhood. Today, our baking section has been modernized with the purchase of 2 electrical ovens, a dough mixer, and a dough proofer. The Bondeko Bakery is now a youth training center and an income-generating activity for women in the community and for the Centre itself.
Saving energy products
Princess Marie of Danmark, during her visit to Uganda, came at Bondeko Center to see our briquettes-making project. This activity is part of our Climate Action Program. It aims at reducing the consumption of charcoal, a product derived from deforestation. In the past 20 years, Uganda has lost over 1 million hectares of its forest. No doubt, the loss of trees has contributed to climate change in the country, affecting millions of lives from both the host community and the refugee community.
Youth refugees and nationals in the community are learning fine arts at Bondeko. They came to get/improve their painting skills. At the same time, art helps them increase self-awareness and self-estime. And for the youth refugees survivors of violence, it's also a therapy that helps them cope with PTSD.
Our fashion section has two aspects. It is at the same time an income-generating activity, making clothes for customers in the community and a training centre, helping mainly women refugees and nationals with low income to get/improve the skills in tailoring and fashion designs.
English for Adults
In Uganda, the majority of refugees are from non-English speaking countries. To help refugees break the language barrier, Bondeko Centre created the English For Adults (EFA) back in 1997. Today, our English classes are part of the Education in Emergencies Program. With more than 85 participants, the English For Adult (EFA) classes are among the largest classrooms at Bondeko Centre. 87% of participants are youth (aged between 18-35 years old). 65% among them are girls and 35% are boys.
Bondeko Young Genius
Most refugee parents can't afford school fees to put their children in kindergarten. So, in order to give refugee children the chance to start learning experience in their early childhood and being as competitive as any other children when they reach the age of starting Primary School, Bondeko Centre has established a Daycare for ECD, named "Bondeko Young Genius".
Children With Disability
According to the National Action Plan for Children with Disabilities (2016/17 – 2020/2021), there are about 2,027,148 children with disabilities in Uganda. And many of them are at not attending school...Bondeko Centre believes that a child with disability has a right to good care and education just like other children. Reason why we've identify and support 300 children with disabilities under the following 6 conditions: Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Epilepsy, Down Syndrome, Microcephalic and Hydrocephalus.
Growing mushrooms is one of the income-generating activities Bondeko Centre has implemented in the community. We provide training to members who are interested to learn how to grow mushrooms. In 2019 and 2020 before the Covid-19 outbreak, we trained 60 youths (43 boys & 17 girls). 50% were aged between 18- and 27 years old, 30% were aged between 28- and 30-year-old, and 20% among them were aged between 31- and 35-year-old. Unfortunately, the activity was affected by the pandemic and we didn't resumed yet.However, some of our members who benefited from the training, are now growing mushrooms as an income generating activity for their own households.
Driving School introduced at Bondeko Centre in 2021 in partenership with the Refugee Driving association became quickly very popular in the community. An arrangement between UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister in Uganda, gives refugees access to the driving permit. Some of our community members trained at Bondeko were later referred to UNHCR for more assistance. Those who got driving permit among them, can now apply for job opportunities and become self-reliant.
Music, Dance & Drama
The Bondeko Centre has three different MDD groups. One for Refugee Youths, one for the Youths from the host community, and one for refugee children between 7 and 15 years old. Although these groups are different, they times to times join to work on common projects either for the Centre of for themselves. MDD activities, at Bondeko Centre are also meant to help refugee children and youths who have experienced armed conflicts to cope with trauma.MDD groups at Bondeko have been affected by covid-19 outbreak and they are slowly resuming with activities.
In 2017, with financial support from the Lemon Tree Trust, the Bondeko Refugee Livelihoods Centre created its own small-scale urban garden to increase food sovereignty in the community. In 2020, during the total lockdown countrywide amid the Covid-19 outbreak, our garden played a vital role in supplying the community with fresh food from the harvest. Although affected by different economic factors, the community garden of Bondeko Centre still exist and continue to produce in small scale organic food. With this initiative, our goal is to promote great learning opportunities for those in need.
It is thanks to the involvement of our youth in all the organization's activities that Bondeko Refugee Livelihoods Centre remains one of the first responders to the refugee crisis that are aware of issues concerning the youths. Thus, we've dedicated an entire Program focusing on youths, relating to Sports, Games, Music, Dance and Drama. The Bondeko Football Club (Bondeko FC) has 2 teams: A team for U20, and a team of more older youths.
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