STORIES OF CHANGE
The amazing bond between a son and his father
Posted by josefine
Jul 22 19

Chris was 17 years old when he and his family ran away from Burundi in 2004. They managed to find refuge in Rwanda for a short period. Upon consideration, his parents allowed him to go back to Uvira in the DRC, which was where he had been studying. A few years later Chris returned to … Continue reading The amazing bond between a son and his father

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Chris was 17 years old when he and his family ran away from Burundi in 2004. They managed to find refuge in Rwanda for a short period. Upon consideration, his parents allowed him to go back to Uvira in the DRC, which was where he had been studying.

A few years later Chris returned to Rwanda, only to find that his parents were not there anymore. He heard that his father, Edmond, had gone to Europe and his mother and siblings had gone to Uganda. 

He moved on with his life, finding a church in which he played music. The pastor, together with some well-wishers, sent him to India to continue with his University studies – which took him 6 years. Afterwards, he returned to Rwanda and started working in casual jobs. He got married and went back to the DRC, but unfortunately from there Chris, his wife, and their two children were forced to flee political conflicts and ended up in Kenya.

Chris never gave up on the search for his father. He heard from friends that he might be in Canada, while others claimed he could be in Trinidad and Tobago or Mexico.

Eventually, he found the phone number of a man with a similar name to his father’s. He called him up, but it was not him. This discouraged Chris and he stopped searching for a while, until the day he met one of REFUNITE’s community leaders. However, he remained sceptical about the possibility of talking to his father again.

With the help of the community leader Chris met, he was finally able to talk to Edmond on the phone after 15 years of separation. Recognising his father’s voice, Chris couldn’t believe he was alive, safe and living in the USA.

Edmond was located thanks to the support of REFUNITE’s Community Leader Network, which is a chain of more than 5,300 tribal community leaders spread across 100 refugee communities worldwide. REFUNITE works with these leaders to mobilize and communicate with last-mile populations. Using online and offline channels combined with the power of this community-based peer to peer network, REFUNITE is now able to provide more than 4.6 million people with essential information.

Chris discovered that while he had been studying in the DRC, Edmond had moved to West Africa for a job opportunity and lost contact with his entire family. Later, he managed to locate them through friends and was reunited with his wife and other children, who were in Uganda. He had also believed that he would never hear from Chris again, until the day he got a call from REFUNITE. “It is only a miraculous God who could bring me back my son after all these years”, Edmond told our call centre agent.

 

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