“Today we have gathered to pray for all of you and for ‘Peace in the Whole World’ ”: A refugee prayer from Uganda to Ukraine.

The Palabek Refugee Settlement in Uganda is home to more than 50,000 refugees, the majority of whom have fled war and ongoing conflict in South Sudan, arriving at the camp after walking for days and sometimes weeks to reach safety at the Ugandan border.

On Sunday, March 20th, the 76 members of the St. Kizito Missionary Group (Salesians) in Palabek camp gathered to reflect and pray on the situation in Ukraine and the plight of millions of refugees fleeing the new conflict there. Following is an excerpt from the Salesians Ireland website:

“From the refugee camp we would like to express our solidarity and closeness with all the refugees. Please forgive us that we cannot send you anything; but today we have gathered to pray for all of you and for “Peace in the whole world”. All the members of this group are refugees, and we know well what it means to be a refugee. Even today, more refugees from South Sudan continue to arrive in large numbers at Palabek camp. They also walk for weeks to reach the border with Uganda and then to arrive at this settlement. They also flee from an invasion – one tribe invading into the lands of another in South Sudan and the consequent efforts to protect their rights – the armed forces of one tribe forcing another tribe to surrender their assets – grazing lands – to feed their own cattle. In South Sudan almost all tribes are shepherds, and their principal assets are their cattle, their pastureland and water.”

At the Palabek Refugee Camp in Uganda, members of the St. Kizito Missionary Group, all of them refugees from South Sudan, came together in late March to pray for peace and share a message of solidarity with refugees from Ukraine, and to share their own experiences of war and being refugees.
Photo: Salesians/Palabek Refugee Camp

Since 2017, missionaries of the Salesians Don Bosco have lived and worked full time alongside the refugees in Palabek camp. They have established schools and youth centres to ensure quality and accessible education and livelihood training is available to the children of Palabek, as well as sports and play centres for enrichment and mental and physical well-being. A 2021 report by the Salesians, entitled Children Right2Play Project, received funding from the Misean Cara Innovation and Learning Fund, to study the importance and impact of the recreational and support services that the Salesians provide to more than 25,000 refugee children and youth in the camp.

To read more about the Salesians in Palabek refugee camp and support their work, please click here.

Information about the Salesians support for the civilians fleeing the war in Ukraine is available here.

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