GET READY FOR RED!

To mark World Hu­man Rights Day next week, Lena Cor­ner vis­its Uganda – re­cently de­clared one of the best places in the world to be a refugee

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THE VALENTINO PRE- FALL

2019 show in Tokyo last week opened and closed with a pa­rade of mod­els wear­ing strik­ing looks ren­dered com­pletely in red – the house’s sig­na­ture shade. It’s a shame we’ll have to wait un­til mid-next year to get hold of them be­cause the pack-a-punch pri­mary is hav­ing a mo­ment right now.

Run­ning the gamut from zingy tomato all the way through to deep bur­gundy, red has re­cently wooed ev­ery­one from Zoë Kravitz to the Duchess of Cam­bridge. It’s a con­fi­dent choice – a guar­an­teed state­ment that’s still clas­sic enough to never feel con­trived. Ththere’s There’s noth­ing wishy-washy about red. It’s dan­ger signs and roses, fast cars and full-fat coke. It’s gutsy, glam­orous, strong, sexy and also com­pletely and ut­terly all-in fes­tive.

For a Thanks­giv­ing din­ner she hosted a cou­ple of weeks ago, Alexa Chung opted to wear a pil­lar-box red dress from her own la­bel. It was the dress equiv­a­lent of a party sea­son start­ing pis­tol.

So how to wear it now? Day or night, ei­ther goes – but there’s some­thing al­lur­ing about the bite it gives to el­e­gant, even de­mure, sil­hou­ettes and tai­lor­ing. Crim­son looks par­tic­u­larly peppy off­set with camel or de­lib­er­ately clash­ing with blush pink, while cherry and black will al­ways make for a stri­dent combo; take your cue from Alexa and wear a red dress with 10-de­nier black tights. Although if you re­ally want to make an im­pact, then head-to-toe is the way to go (don’t for­get the lip­stick: Dior Rouge 999, £29.50, is our ul­ti­mate favourite).

And the best bit of the red re­vival? It’s uni­ver­sally flat­ter­ing ( pri­mary red suits all skin tones) mean­ing we can all heed the ad­vice of Amer­i­can fash­ion de­signer Bill Blass: ‘ When in doubt, wear red.’

When Cle­mentina Binia, 21, turned up at the Ugan­dan bor­der, flee­ing the war in South Su­dan, she had no money and one change of clothes. The Ugan­dans made her a hot meal, checked her health and gave her a bed for the night. The next day, she was given a plot of land to cul­ti­vate.

In stark con­trast to much of Europe, where des­per­ate mi­grants are at­tempt­ing to cross the Chan­nel in dinghies, and the US – where troops last week fired tear gas at women and chil­dren try­ing to cross the bor­der from Mex­ico – this is a re­mark­ably pro­gres­sive at­ti­tude to asy­lum-seek­ers. As we cel­e­brate World Hu­man Rights Day on 10 De­cem­ber, Uganda is now recog­nised as one of the best places on earth to be a refugee. ‘Refugees here are treated with re­spect and dig­nity, re­ceiv­ing sup­port to help them in­te­grate,’ says Ja­cob Opiyo, an emergency spe­cial­ist with Unicef.

Not only was Cle­mentina given land, she was also granted many of the same rights as a Ugan­dan cit­i­zen. She is al­lowed to own prop­erty and work, plus she has the same ac­cess to health­care and ed­u­ca­tion.

‘Fi­nally I feel safe,’ she says. ‘I left South Su­dan be­cause it got so danger­ous. At night, all you could hear were gun­shots. My neigh­bours were killed. Peo­ple ev­ery­where were be­ing at­tacked.’

Since ar­riv­ing, Cle­mentina hasn’t stopped. First she planted food on her plot of land, then she got work with an NGO, care­fully sav­ing her small monthly salary. Af­ter a year she had 300,000 Ugan­dan shillings (£63); enough to buy a thatched hut and open a tiny restau­rant, to free up her time so she could go back to school.

‘I had to drop out of ed­u­ca­tion when I was 15 as my fa­ther couldn’t af­ford it,’ she says. ‘All my sib­lings are un­e­d­u­cated and so they live in poverty. I don’t want that. I want to be some­one.’

Now Cle­mentina em­ploys two peo­ple in her restau­rant and last year en­rolled at the lo­cal sec­ondary school, where she is now head girl. In Septem­ber, she used £157 out

of her restau­rant’s prof­its to pay for her mother and other fam­ily mem­bers to cross the bor­der and join her. She now sup­ports eight of them. ‘My fam­ily were scat­tered but now, through this land and this busi­ness, we have a home,’ she says.

So how can Uganda, one of the world’s poor­est coun­tries in terms of GDP, af­ford this level of care for its refugees, when far wealth­ier coun­tries fall so short? Partly, it’s be­cause they have the space. Two years ago, this part of North­ern Uganda was bush land as far as the eye could see. And partly it’s be­cause many Ugan­dans know what it’s like to be a refugee – mem­o­ries are still fresh.

But also it’s be­cause they recog­nise the value refugees can bring. There are 230,000 refugees liv­ing in this part of North­ern Uganda and the ben­e­fits for the lo­cal econ­omy have been re­mark­able. Where once there was empty bush, now there are schools, hos­pi­tals and thriv­ing busi­nesses. Lo­cals, who once had to travel far for such fa­cil­i­ties, ben­e­fit too. So un­like other parts of the world, where there is pres­sure on re­sources and con­flict when refugees ar­rive, here there are mu­tual ben­e­fits. One Ugan­dan sales­man we meet says he has dou­bled his in­come since the in­flux.

It’s no co­in­ci­dence the Ugan­dan econ­omy is also show­ing im­pres­sive growth. ‘ The change in this area has been amaz­ing,’ says Unicef ’s Ja­cob. ‘ We have given them the things they need to make their lives bet­ter. It makes me proud to be Ugan­dan.’ Unicef ’s ed­u­ca­tion in emer­gen­cies pro­grammes are sup­ported by play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery; post­code­lot­tery.co.uk

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1. £555, jacque­mus (browns­fash­ion.com). 2. £55, week­day (week­day. com). 3. £25, top­shop (top­shop.com). 4. £175, cur­rent/el­liott (net-a-a(net-aporter.com). 5. £99, m&s m& (mark­sand­spencer.com). 6. £119, zara (zara.com). 7. £360, acne stu­dios (match­es­fash­ion.com). 8. £390, fendi (match­es­fash­ion.com). 9. £457, nanushka (far­fetch.com) 1.

Right, clock­wise: Kaia Ger­ber in Valentino, Alexa Chung and the Duchess of Cam­bridge 9.

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p ho­tog r a p h s han­nah m aul e - f f i nc h

Cle­mentina (above) and in her restau­rant (be­low)

Lil­lias has learned to make beads, which she sells to sup­port her fam­ily 7

As a refugee, Na­dia was taught tai­lor­ing to sup­port her­self

Mi­grants flee as tear gas is fired at them at the Mex­ico-us bor­der

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