Salvation Army in Uganda aids Kenyan refugees

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Emergency Services project makes a difference for families enduring loss.

Captain Comfort Odepoju discusses childcare with Kenyan refugee Grace Shakiro and her 2-month-old baby.

The friendship and hospitality of the people in Uganda’s Manafwa region have touched the hearts of Salvation Army relief workers there to assist Kenyan refugees using a remote border crossing into Uganda.

Because Manafwa is not a main border crossing point, official refugee assistance is not readily available. One of the largest Salvation Army congregations of eastern Uganda, however, is in Manafwa. The corps officers and congregation have shared their own meager resources with bereaved and injured families arriving from Kenya.

In other nearby remote areas, The Salvation Army has funded a major feeding program, in addition to the individual acts of kindness by Salvationists and others.

The ministry of relief worker Captain Comfort Adepoju, from Nigeria and currently working with International Emergency Services, has been especially effective in the area, as she was a nurse prior to becoming an Army officer.

Adepoju described one situation, typical of many: “An impoverished family of seven was looking after a little family of three whose mother died giving birth in January after escaping the crisis in Kenya. The trauma of fleeing their ransacked home, leaving behind their possessions, and then the death of the mother, left the pain etched on the face of the older daughter….”

The crisis shows no sign of improvement, with more families arriving each day to seek refuge after long, painful journeys by foot from their Kenyan homes.

A UK Salvationist employed by International Emergency Services, Gordon Lewis, witnessed another group of refugees. “We found a party of eight families who had walked for 24 hours and crossed the border early that morning after fleeing an attack on their homes. They managed to gather just a few of their belongings before running away.”

The support and intervention of The Salvation Army will be needed for some time in this area. International Emergency Services Coordinator Major Cedric Hills said that recent moves toward peace in Kenya have not stopped the steady flow of refugees. “Our colleagues in Uganda are working hard to cope with the many difficulties in their region. We hope that Salvation Army territories around the world, and anyone who has a heart of compassion for these suffering people, will help in any way they can.”

Donations to the “Africa Disaster Fund” can be made at

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