Jane with her pig Sarah

Until the war is over

Jane lovingly feeds her enormous pig, Sarah, who is considered a family pet and has produced a number of piglets which have fetched an income at market.

Jane is a mother of five and comes from a family of farmers in Kajokeji, South Sudan. When the war broke out, her husband was abducted from their home, never to be seen again, and she immediately gathered her children and fled to Uganda with her neighbours. They had left with nothing except the clothes on their back.

After two nights of walking, the family reached the border, and after receiving initial support from UNHCR, Jane was left to fend for herself and her children as a new widow and single mother. She was given some land, a tarpaulin, a sickle, a hoe, and a knife. She recalls working with her eldest boy to clear the land, cut branches and make a tent for themselves. This tent had been their home for about a year, after which she slowly got around to fire her own bricks and build a hut. “I did not know how to make bricks or build a wall,” Jane says. “I had to learn, just like everyone else.” One solar lamp provides them light in the night.

To earn some money to purchase essential things for herself and the children, she started growing greens and rearing rabbits, both for consumption and to sell at the market. She also cut trees and sold them for firewood, and cultivated vegetables. She joined a savings group run by a local NGO, where the group members pool their savings and makes small loans within the group to ensure each member is provided for. The savings group obtained a loan itself from VisionFund in an exciting new pilot project, to enhance the pool of funds and further enhance the borrowing capacity of refugee and host families in Uganda. This meant that she was able to receive a higher loan than usual for her small living. Her first micro loan of 100,000 UGX loan ($27) was used to purchase tomatoes, onions and maize for re-selling. Although a small amount, this helped her earn a small profit which she was able to re-invest. Her main business now is making and selling groundnut paste.

All her children are in school and she is grateful to still be receiving rations from NGOs which she says go a long way to help her feed her family. She wants to be able to educate all her children so that they can support her when she is no longer able to work.

Jane has no family back in South Sudan, but it is her home, and she wants to go back when the war is over. But until then, with the help of financial and other services, she is building her life in the settlement, raising her children as best she can.

 

Written by Megali Nanayakkara, Network Communications & Social Media Manager, VisionFund International