The Refugee Law Project (RLP) in Uganda has set up an internet café to enable refugees in Uganda to link up with family and friends back home and those resettled to other countries, to help them to keep in touch with conditions in their countries of origin, as well as to allow free access to the world-wide web more generally.
Made possible through the generosity of friends of the RLP, the project was launched in July 2009 and is housed in the RLP’s Information Centre. The café is open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. It works on a ‘first come, first served’ basis to avoid argument, and each user is allowed a maximum of 40 minutes on a computer.
The café has seen ever increasing usage, with refugees coming to prepare all kinds of documents, type application letters and their curriculum vitae, and to read news online about their countries of origin. On average, 25 clients use the free internet access point daily. As female clients are unfortunately still scarce, with an average of four women a week, efforts are being made to encourage more women to use the facility.
Future plans for the café include a dedicated space (separate from the Information Centre), the provision of short courses in basic use of the internet and linking to the Refugees United web-based programme designed to help refugees locate missing or lost relatives through the internet.1