Refugees Got Talent Grand Finale Celebrates Youth Empowerment and Cultural Diversity

Nyange Cultural group from Rwamwanja settlement jump with excitement after receiving their prize.


On June 18, 2024, Adjumani District buzzed with excitement during the grand finale of Refugees Got Talent. With funding from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the Lutheran World Federation Uganda organized this talent search to highlight the artistic gifts and resilience of young people living in refugee settlements and host communities. The event was held at Paridi Stadium in Adjumani District, a location chosen for its centrality and its capacity to host a large, inclusive gathering. The grand finale marked the culmination of a six-month journey that began with initial auditions and semi-finals held across Adjumani, Rwamwanja, Kyangwali, Palabek, and Palorinya refugee settlements.

Out of over 600 people who auditioned, 75 acts advanced to the semi-finals and  26 acts progressed to the finals. The 26 acts brought together a total of 61 finalists (some in groups) from the five locations.  In preparation for the grand finale, the participants attended a 7-day long bootcamp to help them hone their skills and prepare them for the final performance.

The grand finale was attended by various dignitaries, including the Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Adjumani District, Emmanuel Okware, who was the guest of honor. During his speech, he stated that “This event showcases the power of art and culture to bridge divides. The participants have shown remarkable courage and dedication, and they are all winners in our eyes”.

The primary objectives of Refugees Got Talent is to empower youth, promote dignity, and foster unity and social cohesion among the refugee and host community. By providing a platform for youths to showcase their talents, the talent search aimed at strengthening bonds and celebrating the rich cultural heritage present in these communities. The competition also aims to bring more positive visibility to the refugee response in Uganda and highlight Uganda's generous Open Door Policy of welcoming refugees.

The awards ceremony recognized winners in three categories, with each category having five winners: First Category winners received 7 million Ugandan Shillings (approximately $1,891); Second Category winners received 5 million Ugandan Shillings (approximately $1,351); and Third Category winners received 2 million Ugandan Shillings (approximately $540).


Adriana Franco Chitanana, the Country Representative of LWF Uganda, remarked, “Refugees Got Talent is a testament to the incredible resilience and creativity of these youths. It is inspiring to see how this event has brought together young people from different backgrounds, celebrating their talents and promoting unity within the communities.”


One of the contestants, John Chol, shared their experience: "Participating in Refugees Got Talent has been a life-changing experience for me. The bootcamp helped me refine my skills and gave me the confidence to perform on such a big stage. I am grateful for this opportunity and proud to represent my community."


This year’s grand finale also marked a significant milestone for LWF Uganda, as the organization celebrated 45 years of dedicated service to community development and empowerment. Over the past four and a half decades, LWF Uganda has been committed to supporting youth and fostering development in refugee and host communities, making a lasting positive impact.