Uganda: English lessons give new perspective
17 January 2008

A group of refugees during a JRS English lesson in Kampala, Uganda. (Angela Hellmuth/JRS)
I used to think that my life would be fine if we went back to Congo. Now I have realised that even though the war will end one day, things will never be the same again.
Kampala, 17 January 2008 – My name is Danny and I am 24 years old. I am a Congolese refugee in Uganda where I arrived in 2000. 

Before I came to Uganda, life was fine. When we arrived in Uganda everything was new to me. I had friends and neighbours, but couldn’t communicate with them. I tried to get explanations from people but no one could help, since we did not speak the same language. 

Then one day my mother told me that JRS had started English lessons for refugees. When I went to there I found that there were many of us who had the same problem. I was one of those students who started in the pioneer class of 2004.  

I knew I could do a lot more if I learnt some English and was able to communicate with people. So after completing the English lessons, I continued reading and listening to the radio and made more friends. 

Later, I went to secondary school. Sometimes, life was hard, but I never gave up. I used to think that my life would be fine if we went back to Congo. Now I have realised that even though the war will end one day, things will never be the same again. 

Two years ago, I decided to join a drama group called “Ndere troupe”. Finally, with the help of friends in this group I found a job. 

Since 2007 I am working at Serena Hotel in Kampala. Even though life is still hard, I know I have managed to get myself out of misery. I know that all this would not be possible if I had not learnt English.