Six agonising years of separation have ended for Catholic couple Morris Mukasa and Teddy Nakalembe with the safe arrival of their children in Sydney. Source: The Catholic Weekly.
The parents were forced to flee their native Uganda for asylum in Australia in 2017 but were forced to leave their five children behind in the Diocese of Kampala, the capital city, where they lived and worked.
The Catholic Weekly told their story in 2022 when the married couple were granted permanent residency, which paved the way for them to sponsor their children in Australia.
In August, the federal Government approved their applications and the siblings, Claire, 15, Peace, 15, Moreen, 12, Sarah, 9 and Cloudius, 7, finally landed in Sydney on October 2.
The couple have become known for their community work with migrants and refugees, which they threw themselves into to fill the empty hours after working their full-time jobs.
Now the family is getting to know each other better and are applying to local Catholic schools.
Sarah and Cloudius have no memories of living with their parents and Claire said she had been nervous about the reunion but “so happy to get to hug them”.
The family was separated amid a crime wave in Kampala while Morris was employed to lead the church’s large archdiocesan prison chaplaincy program.
He was frustrated by corruption he had witnessed and after speaking publicly about a spate of unsolved murders was told it made him and his home an immediate target.
It is not uncommon for refugees to be separated from close family members due to visa and sponsorship requirements, a situation long criticised by refugee advocates.
Ugandan family reunited after six anxious years of separation (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)