STORIES OF CHANGE
Posted by josefine
Nov 13 18
Somali couple reconnected after 10 years of separation
Bisharo left her hometown, Mogadishu, in Somalia, in 2008. She was fleeing the civil war in her country, which began in 1991. Bisharo had a boyfriend, Abdi, who she loved very much and to whom she was promised in marriage. However, she didn’t have time to say goodbye to him and went to Dadaab refugee camp, in Kenya, with her family. She remained in that camp for almost 3 years and then moved to Nairobi. Feeling safe and secure, Bisharo decided to search for Abdi, but she had no success in her quest. She asked about him to friends and relatives back in Somalia, but Abdi could not be found. Bisharo was heartbroken. In September 2018, Bisharo got an SMS from REFUNITE, telling her to flash a number in case she was looking for family and loved ones. Our Somali agent called her and she told about the boyfriend that…
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Posted by josefine
Oct 23 18
REFUNITE team meets community leaders from DRC
Photo: (from left to right) Guillaume Mastaki, Nathalie Badesirhe,humanitaire, Fuego El Mutaz, and Leon Simwerayi. Our REFUNITE team talks to hundreds of leaders every day, on a week basis. Usually, we connect through phone calls, but earlier this year one of our call center agents, El Fuego Mutaz, got the exceptional opportunity to meet up in Gisenyi, Rwanda, with four of our active leaders from the North Kivu Region in DRC: Madame Nathalie Badesirhe, a humanitarian agent from Goma, Maître Bashwira Murhula Zachary, a lawyer from Goma Law Court, and senior member of the national Civil Society, Mr Guillaume Mastaki, the Academic Secretary at Université de Rutshuru, and Member of a development NGO in Rutshuru, Mr Leon Simwerayi, President of “La Brigade Verte” a green environment structure from Goma. During the meeting, El Fuego and the leaders discussed the REFUNITE’s mission and its family tracing techniques, which has equipped them with the…
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
May 25 15
‘I Found My Brother on REFUNITE After 8 Years of Separation!”
In 2013, a young man named Haroon attended a community forum in Dadaab refugee camp, where he learned about REFUNITE’s family tracing services. Dadaab is located in Garissa County, approximately 100 kilometers from the Kenya-Somalia border. It is one of the largest refugee camps in the world and is home to more than 500,000 refugees from different conflict zones in East and Central Africa. The community forums are where refugees go to learn about the different services and programs available to them, and it is also where they get the latest news and updates from the agencies that support them. Haroon and his family come from Kismayo, a port city in the southern Lower Juba province of Somalia. During the family’s escape from renewed insurgent fighting in Somalia in 2007, they lost contact with their brother Jama*. Haroon, his mother and 4 younger siblings had been living in Dadaab for 5…
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
Apr 2 15
Sisters Reconnected After 9 Years Apart
Photo: Ali Abdi Hassan (left), the Outreach Volunteer who helped Fatuma Abdi (right) reconnect with her sister who lives in the US. After 9 years of separation, Fatuma Abdi, a 19-year-old woman living in a Dadaab refugee camp can finally put a smile on her face after a successful reconnection with her older sister in America through REFUNITE’s family reconnection platform. The temperature outside is 36°C. March is the hottest month of the year in Dadaab, North Eastern Kenya. Fatuma Abdi arrives at UNHCR’s field office just around 10 a.m. for an interview, in which she recounts what it was like to be reconnected with her half sister Hyboh after 9 years of separation. She is accompanied by Ali Abdi Hassan, REFUNITE’s Outreach Volunteer in Dadaab. Ali was the one who introduced Fatuma to REFUNITE’s family reconnection platform and empowered her to start the search for her missing sister. Dadaab: The World’s…
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
Jan 15 15
Finding Hope: Somali Cousins Reconnect After 17 Years Apart
Zahra Ahmed, a Somali refugee, was reconnected with her cousin through the REFUNITE platform after 17 years apart. Before the civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991, Zahra and Abdi were your typical lively children. They went to madrasa (Islamic school), played and spent a lot of time together. 
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
Dec 18 14
Two sisters reconnected after 16 years of separation
Early that morning, Estelle* had gone to fetch some water for her family and five children. When she returned to the village, women, men and children were in total panic. The rebel soldiers were drunk or under the influence of drugs, showing no mercy when raiding the village and torturing the people. Estelle immediately knew that the only option she had was to run for her life. She managed to get her children who were at a neighbor’s house, but had to leave both her parents and siblings behind, including her cousin Patricia*, who had always been like a sister to her. Estelle followed a crowd of people that were running away towards a forest. The group kept walking for hours, and Estelle remembers how her children were hungry and how blisters were soon hurting her bare feet. The people around her were talking about a place called Tanzania and…
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
Dec 18 14
Reconnected after 22 years of separation
The following is the story of Rahma* and how she found her father and brother through the online reconnection platform after 22 years of separation. Rahma and her husband, Said, recounted their story on April 4th, 2013.  Please note that this story was told in Somali and has been translated to English for use by REFUNITE. *All names within this retelling have been changed to help ensure anonymity. Rahma was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1990. When the war broke out in Somalia, like so many others, her father and brother fled to Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya, for their safety. Rahma stayed behind in Somalia and was raised by her mother. When she was only 5 years old, her mother passed away, and a short 5 years later, her grandmother passed away as well in the year 2000. With no family left, Rahma was fortunate when she was taken-in by another…
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
Dec 18 14
Congolese Siblings Reconnect after Years of Separation
Imagine surviving violent civil unrest only to discover that your sister is missing. Imagine your search for her yields only evidence that she has perished in her attempt to escape. Imagine drawing strength from your one remaining sibling as you arrange for her funeral and perform a traditional burial ceremony in her honor. And imagine learning more than a decade later that the sister whose funeral you arranged is alive and well in the United States. This is the story of Belle and Marie, two sisters currently living in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. In 2003, the women were separated from their sister, Julienne, when war broke out in their home country of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Eleven years later, after rumors convinced them Julienne was dead, the sisters were reconnected over the REFUNITE mobile platform. Belle and Marie lost contact with Julienne after civil unrest in Goma spiraled into…
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
Dec 18 14
A Mother’s 5 Year Search for Her Daughter
The REFUNITE mobile application described below is available only to adult (over 18) members of separated families in search of loved ones.  This is the story of Binti* – mother of three adult children, victim of war, and refugee – and of her reconnection with her oldest daughter Filan.* After years of searching, Binti discovered REFUNITE and used the mobile family-tracing platform to locate her daughter. For five years, Binti lived in fear that her children were lost forever. Residents of Mogadishu, Binti, her husband, and their three grown children were separated amid the city’s unrelenting violence. A terrorist group entered their house in search of Filan, who was not present at the time. Undeterred, the group returned three times. During the third attack, after refusing to give up Filan, Binti’s husband was kidnapped. The same group kidnapped Binti the following day. While she struggled to survive her captivity, Binti’s neighbors sent…
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Posted by Rachel Ombaka
Dec 18 14
Two Rwandan Brothers Reconnect after Twenty Years Apart
Although he was still a child when the violence broke out, Bandele, a Rwandan refugee who now lives in Kampala, remembers a time his family lived in peace. When war ravaged his home country, Bandele was separated from his parents and siblings. For twenty years, he lived without knowledge of their whereabouts. But a chance introduction to REFUNITE led Bandele down a path to reconnect with his older brother. The two brothers continue the search for their other siblings and parents, hopeful that one day the entire family will be reconnected. “My dad used to like to watch movies and football with the whole family,” remembers Bandele, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide who lost touch with his two brothers, three sisters, and parents during the war. Bandele is sitting in a sparse interview room provide by nonprofit InterAid. At this hub for refugee services in Kampala, Uganda, Bandele recounts…
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