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Have you seen inside a refugee camp? Do you know what goes on there?

This is Mahama Refugee Camp

Here, UK aid is providing medical care, education and psychosocial support to refugees who now live in Mahama Camp, Rwanda. Around 60,000 people live there - over half of them are children.

Most of the children and their families in the camp have escaped conflict in neighbouring Burundi, where violence has been steadily rising for years.

The UK’s compassion plays a vital role in improving the lives of families in and out of refugee camps all over the world.

Between April 2015 and March 2018 UK aid reached nearly 27 million people, including at least 8 million women and girls, with humanitarian assistance.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is working closely with the United Nations to develop longer term and more sustainable support for refugees.

This work aims to provide jobs, education and better services for refugees themselves and the communities that host them.

UK aid is managed by DFID, which focuses on projects that save lives and reach the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Some of Save the Children’s work is funded in this way, with grants from the international aid budget.

Support to the Mahama camp from UK aid is vital; it means hope of a better future for children and their families where previously there was none.

It means Save the Children can help children with education and physical and psychosocial support – delivered in our specially designed child friendly spaces.

This doesn’t just happen by accident. It’s because of the UK’s ability to help others in difficult situations, that Save the Children can transform children’s lives.

Below are the stories of two people whose hard work makes the lives of these children that much brighter. They do it through UK aid.

Meet two Mahama Camp Heroes

Jeanne and Balthazar have worked in the camp for years, offering warmth and expertise to those who live there.

Jeanne is a health worker and midwife for Save the Children.

Every day she works in a maternity ward built and equipped by Save the Children, through UK aid.

She is composed and unflappable. When we meet her, she’s sorting out the transfer of a mother who has gone into labour early as well as looking after 3 other women at different stages of labour.


"Between 6 midwives we deliver over 100 babies a month. We also do antenatal care, postnatal care and post-miscarriage care.

"It’s a big big job Save the Children is doing here.

"Save the Children do child protection and education work too. I see children playing and that makes me feel good.



"I give family planning advice to the mothers and I think I have improved their futures.

"I do this with infection control too."People know if I see something unclean I won’t be happy about it! We don’t just treat, we prevent – we educate people on their health and nutrition. It saves lives.”


Having escaped Burundi himself, Balthazar received training from Save the Children and now helps refugee children learn to read. He is pleased it has given him a purpose that's making a difference to children's lives.

When we meet Balthazar, he is reading to children in the child friendly space built and equipped by UK aid. Class begins with the children singing together, signalling to others that the class it about to start.



Balthazar holds a book up, reading aloud from it, asking questions and clapping when someone gets something right, picking children whose hands point skyward – as high as they can reach. Balthazar is a natural teacher.

In the background is the noise from a drumming and dancing lesson that Save the Children is running at the other end of the playground.



"Teaching is nice. For me and my family it’s very difficult to imagine the future because of living in the camp, but I try. Sometimes during the night, I remember my father and brother who were killed in Burundi. But when I spend time with these children they increase my strength. For a short time, we forget our difficult situation.

"I teach the children the alphabet and read a short story aloud to the class. I’m interested in helping these children because in the future they will be the leaders. Even if we are in a difficult position, we have to think about the future."


The progress in Mahama refugee camp is possible because of UK aid and people like you - people who care about improving the futures of children everywhere, no matter where they come from.


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