Mother Reunites with Children After 11 Years of Separation – A Joyful Reunion

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Uganda Red Cross, ICRC Uganda, and Partners have today December 13, 2023, successfully reunited Dusenge Rambahose (68 years old) with her children, after 11 years of separation.

According to the Red Cross, this marks a significant milestone for the Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) programme in Uganda, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Dusenga who was speaking to the media thanked God who she said have made this happen.

“I will choose to praise the Lord for what he has done for me,” said Dusenge Rambahose (68 years old), lifting her hands.

Dusenge Rambahose, along with her 33-year-old son Ndengejeho Kwigira, and deceased husband, fled the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during fierce fighting in March 2012.

They lived in Gachemo Binza Kiwanja, DRC, enduring a night of live bullets and violence. According to Dusenga, they crossed into Uganda, but her husband died upon arrival, and Dusenge, who was in Rwamwanja refugee settlement, registered her missing children with Uganda Red Cross family tracing desk of missing persons at Nyakabande transit center.

The 68 year old’s children had fled in different directions during the chaos and hadn’t seen each other since.

After 6 years of tracing Dusenge was received by her son, and neighbours at Nakivale refugee settlement, where she will now stay.

In 2012, UNHCR Uganda relocated Dusenge from the Nyakabande transit center (Western Uganda) to Rwamwanja refugee settlement (Southwestern Uganda).

Through Uganda Red Cross community activities, Dusenge, identified as a vulnerable adult by Restoration of Family Links (RFL) volunteers during routine field follow-ups and sensitizations, since she lived with her disabled son, who had mental and heart conditions, a vision impairment, and couldn’t support himself.

The Red Cross team engaged her to locate any relative who could support the family. The team initiated a tracing request, and for the last six years, an intensive search for Dusenge’s family members has been ongoing.

A smile covered Dusenge’s face when the tracing request turned positive through both a phone call and a Red Cross Message (TC/RCM). One of her children, Museruka Rambahose (40 years), was traced in Isanja, Juru base camp, Nakivale Refugee Settlement (southern Uganda) on September 19, 2023.

She was thrilled, happy to speak to him on the phone.

On December 12th, after successfully completing all the Government of Uganda procedures, Dusenge and Ndengejeho were taken by the Uganda Red Cross team from Rwamwanja to Nakivale to reunite with her other son, Museruka. The three met for the first time after 11 years of separation.

Irene Nakasiita,the  Communications and Partnerships Director at the Uganda Red Cross Society said that It was an emotional moment for everyone involved.

“Tears of joy, songs of happiness, and much excitement filled the air. Seeing the happiness in their faces after enduring so much pain fills us with gratitude and makes us appreciate the efforts by the Family tracing team. Looking at the distance covered and the process involved brings so much joy to us, knowing that the family can now rejoice together and live together once again, as they used to back home in DRC,” Nakasiita said.

Dusenga’s Son Musekura thanked the Red Cross team for helping them to unite with her family.

“I thank the Red Cross team for helping us meet and reunite after this long time. May God bless you. I can’t cry because I am a man, but I am so happy. I praise the Lord too for bringing my mother in my face. I thought she died,” Musekura said.

Uganda Red Cross, with support from ICRC, has a program for family unification. Many people are separated from their families due to emergencies such as disasters and war, among other reasons.

The program involves case workers covering long distances, tracing children and their parents, vulnerable adults, and all categories of people to reunite them with missing family members.

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