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[Uganda]A SUCCESS STORY OF JOYCE ABAU, A SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEE LIVING IN IMVEPI REFUGEE SETTLEMENT.

2019.7.3

‘In my home in Lupapa village; Yei town, I lived happily with my children, farmed and managed a small business that sustained my family needs” begins Joyce Abau, a 53-year-old widow who arrived to Imvepi refugee settlement nearly three years ago with her six children.

“Life went normally until 16 July 2016 when the conflict in South Sudan became markedly worse. We heard gunfire, indiscriminate killings in homes, and a lot of bloodshed. Fear engulfed Joyce especially for her two sons who were in their youthful age – a potential for forced recruitment by the rebels.” Many youths who resisted to join the rebels were locked in the house and set ablaze; Joyce adds.

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1 Joyce Abau with one of her sons Infront of their makeshift house before PWJ shelter support

Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1 Joyce Abau with one of her sons Infront of their makeshift house before PWJ shelter support

Scared and worried for her childrens’ lives, Joyce along with her children joined the rest of the village members as they set for a three days trek to Muri village in Maridi county in Congo; fleeing their war tone homeland. The journey to Maridi was however so rough as they went through the bushes while dodging the road blocks from the government soldiers who didn’t want anyone to leave the country. Upon arrival, we spent two months in Congo as we pondered to move to Uganda, Joyce added.

After four days of walking, Joyce together with her children and other families arrived to Sala ya musala a refugee collection point at the border of Uganda and Congo on the 22 March 2017 from where they were now relocated to Imvepi refugee settlement in Arua District in Northern Uganda.

Joyce was settled in village 9, zone 2 along with her six children. Two of her sons are also mentally ill with epilepsy. ‘Initially I was living in a temporal makeshift together with my children until 2018 when I was identified to benefit from a PSN shelter and latrine which was later constructed by Peace Winds Japan’ she said. ‘I am very happy that my children and I can now sleep comfortably in a semi-permanent house and also have a latrine which has improved the sanitation at our home’ she added. Joyce is one of the many people who have benefited from the 421 PSN shelters and latrines constructed by PWJ in Imvepi refugee settlement.

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 2 Joyce and her son pause in front of their shelter constructed by PWJ

Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 2 Joyce and her son pause in front of their shelter constructed by PWJ

Joyce who had a plan to raise her children to live independent lives now worries of her situation saying that we are now used to free food, medication and education which cannot make my children to work hard on their own. Joyce is also uncertain of returning back to South Sudan fearing that the security situation is still fragile.

Now I feel confident and proud, as our project has a big positive impact on the refugees’ life. At the same time, I found the problem that Joyce had mentioned sat heavily on us. We have to think more about what and how we can do while respecting the dignity of beneficiaries.
*Our project in Uganda is supported by Japan Platform, and by the donations for Peace Winds Japan.