Growing up in a foreign country can be lonely for children who don’t speak local languages and aren’t fully integrated into societies of the countries that provide temporary homes for them. To try and ease their stay in South Africa, the Refugee Aid Organisation treated 150 refugee children to a day of fun, entertainment and a bit of light-hearted education in Roodepoort near Johannesburg.
The kids made new friends while riding horses, playing on jumping castles and learning about various wild animals during their Christmas party.
11-year-old Janice Nsuzu from the Democratic Republic of Congo says meeting new people was daunting at first, but she thoroughly enjoyed herself, “I really had a good time; I had fun and made new friends. I was a little bit scared in the morning, but as the day went on I relaxed and eventually everything was good”.
Some of the children who end up in South Africa are fleeing conflict areas and war zones in their home lands. The DRC’s North Kivu region has led to thousands of people crossing borders with many ending up in South Africa. There are often reports of rape and murders in the region. Some of those who flee these conflict areas find discrimination in South Africa.
The organisation says the best way to empower children who have faced these hardships is through education and as a result gave them school backpacks with stationery inside. Natalie Bonga, a volunteer from Ghana and a parent, says the work done by the Refugee Aid Organisation is important. “The organisation does a good job with our children, what they did today was good. This shows the spirit of love and that they care about us, even though we are not South Africans.”
Nozipho Ncube, from the organisation says their work is difficult as they often need resources that are scarcely available. “This year has been a very difficult year for us, as an organisation and we would like to thank everyone who supported us and took part in every function we've had. We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy new year and God bless you all,” says Ncube.