“These books empowered me”

10th February 2021 | Blog

Uganda, with more than 1.4 million refugees and asylum seekers, is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. Most refugees come from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Jesuit Refugee Service in Uganda offers language classes and other educational and recreational initiatives to refugees, including providing lessons on income-generation, filling the huge gaps in secondary education and piloting mental health support in primary and secondary schools.

We heard from two users of Jesuit Refugee Service in Uganda, who spoke about how the books you help to send have impacted their lives. 

17-year-old Pascal Karhanu is now a student at the Jesuit Refugee Service

“I am Pascal Karhanu and I am a 17-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I am an orphan with my brothers, sisters and my sister in law. We left our country because of insecurity.

I am a student from Jesuit Refugee Service and I have used the books donated by Book Aid International for intellectual reading and revising – we are developing our minds. Each book has a different topic. Some are about culture, others about science. The books have helped me to have another point of view of seeing things. I have learned more about other culture and I have got a lot of things from them. For sure I am not the same than I was before I read the books. Keep sending books because there are many people who need them.

I am not the same than I was before I read the books.

If Book Aid International had never sent the books I could have missed a lot of things that I’ve read. I have enjoyed each time when I have read those books, they’ve helped me and given me the desire to keep on reading.”

Rheman Mutoke is also a student at the Jesuit Refugee Service

“Being a refugee is something I have never expected, but what brought me here was a question of the safety of my life. I realised my life was in danger, that’s why I came here as a refugee.

We face many challenges with this new life. First of all the language was an obstacle to integrating in Uganda.

Personally, I would like to thank Book Aid International for thinking about us by giving these books, they’ve helped us a lot. I am truly enjoying them and I have read and discovered many things, I am grateful.

These books empowered me and taught me to think deeply, how to read correctly and how to pronounce perfectly. I’ve found many more words, expressions and stories to inspire me. I was joyful when I was reading, it’s a sign of help for me – these books are made for me to forget the side of me that was once sad and shocked [because of] what I am going through.

These books empowered me.

Without these books, I wouldn’t be able to write, read correctly or to speak as fluent as people here. It helped me to [learn] expressions and to take away the stress. Thank you.” – Rheman Mutoke, Refugee student.

Today, more people are displaced by conflict than at any time since the Second World War.

Young people like Rheman and Pascal often miss out on critical stages of their educations, and that lost learning can have life-long implications. That’s why we are determined to provide access to books to those who live with or have fled conflict.

You can read more about our work with refugees here.