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UNHCR Rwanda Refugee Bulletin, Issue number III

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US Ambassador inaugurates project for vulnerable refugees in Gihembe

Surrounded by umbrellas and a thick fog, the United States’ Ambassador to Rwanda, Ambassador Donald Koran, made his way through Gihembe refugee camp on a cold December day. The familiarisation visit aimed at assessing the camp situation and to discuss achievements as well as challenges with various stakeholders.

During his visit, the Ambassador also inaugurated Gihembe’s newly-established Poultry Farm, which benefits 150 of Gihembe’s widows. Together, the widows have formed an association to manage the revenues generated by the sale of chicken broilers and eggs. The poultry farm is a Julia Taft project funded by the US Embassy in Rwanda.

Later, on his tour of other camp facilities that are supported by the American Refugee Committee, Ambassador Koran met refugee youths learning wood-carving skills, he sampled ‘home-baked’ muffins produced by refugees receiving bakery training, and discussed with several other beneficiaries along the way.

The UNHCR Head of Field Office Byumba Richard Ndaula accompanied the Ambassador throughout his visit of the camp facilities, and briefed him on the following four key challenges: ways to address the chronic water shortage in Gihembe, the problem of hazardous ravines surrounding the camp, the need to build sustainable classrooms to increase student retention, and also to explore the possibility of sending refugee children to Government schools outside the camp.

The Ambassador showed great personal interest in the conditions of Gihembe and reassured the continued support of the United States to activities for and protection of refugees in Rwanda.