Friday, September 28, 2007

The Brave Journey Home

When violence erupted in Togo in April 2005 following the installation of the son of the late Gnassingbe Eyadema as Togo's president, tens of thousands of Togolese fled the country. Nearly 9,000 of those people sought refuge in neighboring Ghana. But with the easing of social and political tensions in their home country, many now want to return.

The UNHCR is aiding in this process, giving priority to some 176 refugees who wish to take part in the October 14 parliamentary elections. The refugees will travel to Danyi prefecture in Togo's plateau, then on to their respective homes. They will be returning with some needed return packages from the UNHCR and their partners. The packages will include a $120 cash grant per adult and $60 per child, clothing, mosquito nets, mats, buckets, soap, hygiene kits and food rations for two months.

Commenting on the repatriation of these Togolese, UNHCR's Ghana chief Aida Haile Mariam stated, "today marks a new beginning...While Togo is still in the process of political reform, these 176 Togolese refugees have decided to avail themselves of the opportunity to return to their home country..."

And that, is a brave journey home.