Catholic Charity Constructs Education Center for South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda

Credit: ACN

The Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, is completing the construction of an educational and pastoral center to support the learning of South Sudanese refugees at Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in the Catholic Diocese of Arua, Uganda.

The center, which is set to be opened on June 25 is set to support youth and children at the facility that is home to over 300,000 people who have fled from violence and other forms of instability in Africa’s youngest nation.

Such statistics, Fr. Paul Antosiak of ACN says, “confirm that in the face of war, the most vulnerable suffer the most, including children.”

In a Tuesday, May 31 report, ACN Poland has indicated that a majority of the South Sudanese living at Bidibidi camp are school-going children who learn in difficult circumstances.

“Children and youth learn in classes of up to 300 people. There is no common room or expanded library. Hence the answer in the form of building educational and pastoral centers. The first such facility is almost ready,” ACN Poland reports.


According to the charity foundation, the current conditions in which the children live at the camp do not allow them to focus on their studies when they return home either.

“The strong sun shines through their hut and the roof leaks during the rainy season. On top of that, the little ones have to help around the house, and when it gets dark, they have no access to electricity. The education center will give them more opportunities,” ACN Poland reports.

Fr. Andrzej Dzida, a Polish Missionary providing pastoral care at the camp in Uganda’s Diocese of Arua, says that children who have been denied an opportunity to acquire education at home in South Sudan have an opportunity to attend classes in Uganda.

“In South Sudan these classes were interrupted by conflicts; there were no salaries for teachers and the youngest were sent to work in the fields,” Fr. Dzida is quoted as saying in the May 31 report.

He told ACN Poland that the pastoral and educational facility is a way of “thinking about the future of the youngest” who have fled from South Sudan where “people are still being killed and villages burned to the ground.”

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Fr. Antosiak points out that the educational center is to be a place where children will spend time learning, “a place where they will feel safe”.

He says that the goal of constructing the facility, which will be referred to as “a house of hope” has been to restore hope among the South Sudanese youth and children.

In the report, Fr. Dzida says that it is important for children to be appreciated, adding, “In turn, their loved ones, including their parents, aunts, uncles, want to see that their child is not just a refugee, but is capable, able to play and enjoy.”

The member of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) explains, “We want the children to be able to study in this center, to do their homework. They will also have a stage so they can present pantomimes and plays.” 

“There will be electricity, because solar batteries will be used. Water will flow from gutters into cisterns so that it can be used when the well fails,” the Catholic missionary Priest adds.


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.