South Sudanese refugees acquire productive life skills

By Abraham Garang

The refugees from South Sudan, settled in Bidibidi in Yumbe District of Uganda, whereby  the second largest refugee hosting area worldwide, have been receiving various trainings and skills in different fields offered by partner agencies collaborating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that endeavor to deliver needed services to the refugees.

The skills are part of livelihood activities meant to equip them [refugees] and the host communities with means of leading a productive life now and in the future when the total peace returns.
Brass for Africa is one of the organizations conducting trainings to the youth in music. The organization has partnered with a refugee founded community based organization called Youth Focus on Transforming Communities (YFTC) and periodically the two agencies and other partners stage music, drama and dance shows in different villages making up Bidibidi settlement.

The training sessions which focus on learning how to play various musical instruments are attended by willing selected learners from both refugee and the host community members, who pursue their dreams in fields of their choice. Robert Toba, aged 26 years is a learner taking tenor horn, a brass made instrument which he says gives him sense of enjoyment and adds pleasure to his daily life routine.

Before coming to the settlement, Toba said he used to play Adungu, a local wooden string made instrument during church services and other cultural occasions, adding that “Brass for Africa has brought for us very good instrument that can make us modify and refresh our minds.” He explained that Brass for Africa has also added what he refers to as unique advanced lips blown instrument on what he previously had, the playing of Adungu, the instrument that used to make his fingers develop pain.
Visibly delighted Toba urged his fellow musicians to develop love towards instruments of their choice in order to master it. Expressing his interest in the instrument he has chosen willingly, the Tenor lover Robert Toba advised that “if you want to become a good player of an instrument you need to put more interest in it and make the instrument to be your best friend.”  Playing tenor horn makes him to put worries about life hurdles and hardships behind him and it refreshes his mind making it {mind} steer clear of bad thoughts that bring trauma.

According to him, his new found “best friend” tenor horn, contributes tremendously to making him easily forget issues related to thinking about what he had lost during the eruption of the war back in his home country South Sudan. The enthusiastic Tenor player, Robert Toba, looks forward to witnessing and enjoying peaceful days when he would put his talent in use to entertain his audience along with other colleagues.

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