The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) last Saturday organised a public health walk to show solidarity with refugees across Africa.
The walk dubbed ‘Step for Safety Walk’ was organised under the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency ‘LuQuLuQu’ campaign which seeks to create awareness on the plight of refugees and to change how refugees are perceived.
Madam Esther Kiragu, UNHCR Ghana representative, speaking after the walk said she was glad many citizens were able to make it to the walk to show that they were willing to support refugees.
She stated that in Africa more than 25 million people were forcibly displaced and LuQuLuQu sought to care for these people and to give them a second chance to revamp their lives.
“This is why we organise activities like this to change the perspectives of people to not only see them as refugees but as a force that can be used to improve lives and nations,” the country representative added.
Mrs Kiragu advised donors not to only give food items and clothing but also jobs because most of these refugees came with skills that could be used to grow a business or a country.
Mr Tetteh Padi, Programmes Co-ordinator of the Ghana Refugee Board speaking in an interview said the government would continue to care for refugees in the country and with support from donors like UNHCR.
He said currently over 13,400 refugees were living in and around the four refugee camps in the country with about 6,000 of them coming from Cote D’Ivoire.
“Now aside from caring for we also empower them by developing their skills to enable them contribute to the national agenda, this in turn allows them to set up businesses,” Mr Padi added.
After the health walk there was a choreography performed by some refugees demonstrating the dangers and hardships they faced before, during and after leaving their countries to seek refuge in Ghana.
Mrs Adeline Goze, a refugee and a performer in the choreography urged all to change their perception of refugees and to band together to aid all refugees by empowering them through jobs and skills development.
BY FREDERICK GADESE-MENSAH