Japanese Ambassador Miyashita visits Mahama Refugee Camp


Ambassador Takayuki (2nd Right) and other officials inspect children painting art work at Mahama Refugee Camp during their visit last week. / Eddie Nsabimana.

The Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda, Takayuki Miyashita, last week, paid a visit to Mahama Refugee Camp that serves as home to over 50,000 Burundian refugees.

Ambassador Miyashita, among others, toured the camp’s education infrastructure which include a computer laboratory with 44 computers, a child protection space with entertainment grounds and a hygienic mural that was established to encourage refugees in the camp to take care of their hygiene for a better health.

During the visit, the Ambassador said the facilities will be key to improving refugees’ welfare and education standards for a better future.

“Burundian refugees are striving to adapt to life in the camp, and we are committed to better lives as much as possible. We are glad that they are happy with the facilities and I hope they will positively impact their lives,” he said.

The government of Japan provided support worth $630,000 for the establishment of the facilities through UNICEF Rwanda.

Jean Claude Rugambwa, the head of Refugees Affairs at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDMAR), thanked the government of Japan for the support to the refugees.
“This support is a result of the good cooperation and collaboration with our development partners, and, with it, refugees will be able to improve their welfare in one way or another,” Rugambwa said.

Since 2016, the government of Japan has contributed $2.5 million towards supporting Mahama camp.

Despite the support, Ahmed Baba Fall, the country representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, called on the international community to find lasting solutions so that the refugees may go back to their home country.

“Mahama is one of the modern refugee camps that we have in Africa. We’re glad that refugees are now having good education, thanks to the support from our partners. But we keep trying to find a durable solution for the refugees so they can return to their home countries,” he said.

Ahmed commended the government of Japan for providing 900 tons of rice to curb a recent food crisis, but noted that humanitarian assistance is decreasing not only in Rwanda, but all over the world.

According to UNHCR, food cuts are on the rise by 50 per cent in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, while in Rwanda food supplies have decreased by 10 per cent since September.