By Mudassir Raja
Uganda has a strong community in Qatar with numbers reaching up to 5,000. The community, however, does not have an embassy in Qatar.
GROUP PHOTO: The executive members of the Ugandan Community in Qatar.
Some motivated people from the community came forward and formed a community organisation named The Ugandan Community in Qatar (UGACOQ) to address this issue. Formed in 2015, the community organisation is a non-profit and formal association comprised of people from Uganda living in Qatar and other concerned global well-wishers who are of Ugandan origin or have ties to the country.
Aliguma Saul Rayan, 26 years old, is the acting chairman and one of the founders of UGACOQ. He is enthusiastic and motivational when it comes to reaching out to the Ugandan or any other community in Qatar.
He works as an electrical supervisor in a private company and is also a drummer, dancer, and a photographer.
Community recently caught up with him and interviewed him about his community work and UGACOQ.
Please tell us briefly about yourself.
I have been working for a trading and contracting company in Qatar since March 2013. I am also an African drummer associated with Drumming Qatar. I enjoy photography and am at a professional level. I have also been involved in community building, planning different community events, and making motivational speeches. I believe in teamwork and motivate people to work together for their collective betterment.
What drives you to work for your community?
I and all other executive members of our community organisation have long been in Qatar. We know what kind of issues and problems people face as a community, especially when they do not have an embassy. We know what kind of hardships they face after they start their jobs or lives. I believe sharing is caring. I think we have to share whatever we have. I also want people from Uganda to be together. When you are together, it is easier to face different issues and work towards their resolutions.
How and when was UGACOQ formed?
People from Uganda have long been working in Qatar. Earlier there have been small groups and Ugandans were coming together at a slow pace. These small groups had been having get togethers to celebrate different events.
It was in 2015 that we thought to have a single platform for our community. As our embassy works from another Gulf country, Ugandan expatriate face different issues. I and some other people realised the community needed to have a platform. The platform should have necessary links and access to required offices.
We got in touch with heads of different small Ugandan groups in Qatar. We discussed with them the need for a bigger platform. Finally, we formed UGACOQ.
We have a general assembly, supervisory supreme committee, executive committee, and appointed directors in our organisation. I am the acting chairman and soon we will have elections for a new chairman.
How has UGACOQ been taking care of the community?
As we started building a system, the community people started believing in us. Our team is working to help the community and the reciprocal co-operation has also been very good.
We have signed MoUs with a number of companies for better welfare of our community. For instance, we have an agreement with Ethiopian Airline to carry extra weight by Ugandan passengers.
We help and guide the community members in verification of their official documents from the Ugandan embassy. We as an welfare of the community. We also take care of people in case of death and transport their remains after liaising with our embassy.
Furthermore, we help our community take part in different events and social activities taking place in Qatar.
Now, we have regular liaison with different departments of the Government of Qatar and embassies of other countries to participate in a number of social activities. We also provide a platform to our community members to showcase their events also.
We are building a bridge between the Ugandan community and other communities in Qatar. We look for job opportunities for skilful people from our community and educate our members about life in Qatar.
What are your future plans?
One of our plans is to engage our people into different businesses in Qatar. Secondly, we want to have relations with Qatar at the maximum level.
How do you see life in Qatar?
Qatar is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. It is a place full of opportunities. Here everyone is given a chance to showcase their talents.
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