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UGANDA: Salesian Mission Office Madrid and Salesian Jóvenes y Desarrollo Foundation present the new documentary “Palabek: Refuge of Hope”


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Mission Office Madrid and the Salesian Jóvenes y Desarrollo Foundation presented a new documentary “Palabek: Refuge of Hope” from award-winning filmmaker Raúl de la Fuente on Oct. 17, in Madrid, Spain. Other screening locations will follow in Spain and other European cities in the coming weeks.

Uganda has become home for more than 1.3 million refugees—82 percent of whom are women and children—in the wake of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, according to the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. Millions have fled the country and nearly 400,000 have died as a result of armed clashes. Many of those who have fled to Uganda have taken refuge at the Palabek Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda.

The Palabek Refugee Settlement is currently home to 34,000 people. It was officially set up in April 2016 to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the northwestern corner of Uganda. Several agencies are involved in providing food and education within Palabek.

Salesian missionaries at the settlement are offering much needed psycho-social support and pastoral care for thousands of Christian residents. They also operate four nursery schools that educate more than 1,000 children. In addition, there are over 700 children attending Salesian primary and secondary schools and more than 700 families that are supported by various other initiatives.

Young refugees are also able to attend vocational training courses for free. Depending on the discipline, some courses will run for 3-6 months while others will run as long as a year. Salesian missionaries have also set up a job placement office that will help students make contact with companies that are hiring, prepare resumes and prep for interviews, and find internships and onsite training opportunities.

Ordinary life in the camp is the main theme of the documentary, with a focus on the daily difficulties and uncertainty of the future of these people. The film offers moving stories of refugees arriving from all over the world and shows the dreams that keep them alive, along with the work that the Salesians do with them, offering education, support and hope.

Alice and Gladys, two young refugees and mothers, have started a new life in the settlement of Palabek thanks to the study opportunities offered to them by the Salesians. Thanks to a scholarship, Alice is finishing high school in a village near Palabek, while Gladys is the only girl who attends the Motorcycle Repair course of the Don Bosco Technical School.

“This new documentary sheds light on the realities faced by those who have had to leave everything behind to save their own lives and now live with the painful difficulties of being separated from their families and waiting for peace to be able to return home,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Close to 67 percent of Ugandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty, according to UNICEF. While the country has seen some economic growth, as well as improvement in its Human Development Index ranking over the last 20 years, the country still ranks near the bottom at 163 out of 188 countries. After decades of war left many displaced, the people of Uganda face many significant challenges as they work to rebuild their country.

Uganda’s literacy rate has improved with 73 percent of the population literate but only 23 percent of Ugandans go on to acquire a secondary education. According to UNICEF, one of the biggest challenges in the country is combating the serious increase of HIV/AIDS that has left millions of children orphaned.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Spain – “Palabek. Refugio de esperanza”, documentary about refugees’ life and dreams

Don Bosco Palabek Refugee Resettlement Camp

Salesian Missions – Uganda

Salesian Missions – Spain

UGANDA: Young women from South Sudan are learning the skills needed to earn a living at Palabek Refugee Settlement