After her father was killed in South Sudan conflict, a young teen called Agnes fled to the Imvepi Refugee Settlement in Uganda with a neighbor while her family remained behind. For a year Agnes lived uncertain whether her mother and siblings had survived the conflict as she struggled to come to terms with her new life without the support of her parents.
But one day she received the incredible news that her mother and sibling had survived the dangerous journey out of South Sudan and were staying in a Refugee settlement nearby. Agnes waited with great anticipation to be reunited with the family she had worried about for countless nights.
The reunion with her family wasn’t what she expected.
In her absence, her mother had remarried and had a new baby. Agnes’s stepfather was not pleased to find that Agnes was re-joining the family as she represented another mouth to feed, something he was already struggling with. The love and support she’d been expecting from her mother was now being given to the new baby. Agnes also needed additional financial support for the school she was attending, but any request for money for items such as books were met with resistance her mother and stepfather.
“The truth is that we have no money at all. We would love to support her, but we do not have anything. We are refugees.” Agnes’ mother said.
Agnes’s hopes and dreams of her family and future were shattered.
A short while later Agnes found out that JAM was enlisting beneficiaries for a gardening project. She knew some refugees who had participated in the project and had successfully grown vegetables, and she quickly signed up.
“When I started, I did not know anything about cultivation. We were taught about laying a nursery bed, transplanting and watering the plants during the dry season.” Agnes is currently tending to her second crop of onions, tomatoes and amaranth.
With the proceeds from the garden, Agnes has been able to provide vegetables for her family and purchase school books and shoes.
“I know that to many, growing vegetables may seem a simple task, but to me, my vegetables offer a way out of a desperate situation. I can now contribute to my family’s well-being, which means my stepfather is happier to have me, and I have a way to buy the things I need for school.” Agnes says with a smile.
Agnes hopes her parents will soon join her in the gardening project so that the whole family can begin to rebuild their lives together.
Funds donated to JAM’s Food Security and Livelihood projects is helping to rebuild livelihoods, families and hope for the future.
Thank you to every donor. You are making an incredible difference.
If you’d like to assist families like Agnes’, please donate here