2023 World Refugee Day: Restoring the hope of IDPs in Nigeria by the UNHCR
By Lizzy Okoji
June 20, 2023
Abuja, Nigeria- Like every other person, they once lived a normal life with a source of livelihood, engaging in their day-to-day actives. Unfortunately, they were forced to flee their homes as a result of conflicts, human rights violation, disasters, and other events making them forcibly displaced.
According the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2022, 108.4 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide, 27.1 million of whom are refugees, and 53.2 million Internally displaced.
In Nigeria’s north-east, displacement continues to rise with the insecurity in some parts of the region leading to dire humanitarian crises.
As the world commemorates the 2023 World Refugees Day under the theme “Hope away from Home”, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Nigeria restores “Hope away from Home” to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria.
UNHCR’s Representative to Nigeria, Chansa Kapaya says that providing durable solutions with livelihood support remains the most realistic way of helping refugees rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society.
In-line with the mandate of UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to take 10 million people out of displacement in the next two year, UNHCR Nigeria has under its Labondo Integration Pilot project have restored “Hope away from Home” to 454 families.
Located in Labondo, Girie Local Government of Adamawa State, UNHCR Nigeria with support and funding from the Nigerian government, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) and the United Nations Central Emergency Fund (CERF) have provided shelter with core livelihood support to displaced persons.
To avoid an overstretch of facilities in the host community, UNHCR built additional blocks of classrooms, health center, market stores, community center, with portable water in Labondo.
“We will continue to build the resilience of displaced persons,” Kapaya said.
For 30-year-old Hadiza Abubakar who fled her home town in Michika Local Government of Adamawa, it’s a new dawn for her.
Abubakar says as she can now take care of herself and her five children from the money she earns job as a cleaner at the UNHCR, Borno Women Development Initiative (BOWDI) Safe Space for Women and girls.
According to Abubakar, she thought her life was over when she lost everything she had at Michika.
“I want to thank UNHCR for giving us new homes, where we can live comfortable and start life afresh. It is still like a dream to me.
“In this center, I first of all received counseling after the trauma I experienced. Then I learnt tailoring and soap making. But the good thing is that aside the skills I learnt, I am now employed as a staff.
“With my N30,000 monthly salary, I can now feed myself and my children. There is no need to save money for house rent here because we already have free houses by the UNHCR.
“I am very excited that my children can now return to school. It is like we are in our village again, “Abubakar said.
Executive Secretary of the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (ADSEMA), Mohammed Suleiman thanked the UNHCR for the durable solutions for the IDPs which he describes as a blessing.
Suleiman said that providing durable solutions for displaced persons is the step in the right direction to reintegrate the affected persons back into society.
“This is a blessing and we appreciate the UNHCR for this great provision.
“We can see what the UNHCR has done for us by providing livelihood support for every household here. There are also classrooms and health centres where your children and you all can use.
“I hereby enjoin you all to live in peace, even with the host community that have been kind enough to accept you all.
“I also enjoin you all to make good use of the facilities,” Suleiman said.
The Humanitarian Post