Uganda opens its border to refugees

By July 1, 2020

Uganda (MNN) — AMG International continues to share the love of Jesus during Uganda’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Uganda has temporarily opened its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo as the latter country has suffered deadly ethnic violence. When borders closed in March due to COVID-19, an estimated 10,000 people were stuck in no man’s land between the countries.

Bill Passons of AMG International says it’s a delicate balance. Thousands of Ugandans were trapped outside the country and Uganda wants to let them back in. “They’re trying to take some of the things that they’ve learned, testing and just being more strict [to help with this situation]. But,  anytime that you open and thousands and thousands of people are coming in, it increases risk dramatically.”

This is 14-year-old Baker, one of the kids that AMG International works with. (Photo courtesy of AMG International)

Uganda has managed COVID-19 remarkably well, with only 870 confirmed cases and no reported deaths. The country has experience dealing with severe disease outbreaks, such as Ebola. Uganda has been testing and quarantining all of the refugees coming in through the open border

AMG’s continuing ministry in Uganda

AMG is continuing to touch base with Ugandan kids in their programs during the lockdown. Passons says, “Uganda is now allowing us to meet with people one-on-one and up to five people at a time. Some of the older kids, we’re coordinating with them to come to the centers, to have discussions, to offer counseling to try to help them, and to navigate these times.”

Life under lockdown can be tough, Passons says. People have health struggles, and financial stress as the pandemic stretches on. “We’re educating families. We’re [teaching] our workers [how] to identify risks and trying to address those.”

These often-desperate times allow AMG to image Christ in the way they stay engaged with students and their families. Passons says, “It has opened up Gospel conversations, but again, it’s not a new start. It’s just a continuation of the conversation that we’ve been having for decades in Uganda.”

 

 

 

Header image depicts a house in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of AMG International via Facebook)

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