Uganda - Josephine, a young refugee mother in Uganda, dreams of peace in South Sudan

08 October 2018

(ANS - Palabek) - A refugee camp is one of the few places in the world where almost every day looks the same, since there is not much to do. In Palabek, Uganda, 45 km from the South Sudan border, over 32,000 people, all from South Sudan, and almost 90% women and children, want peace for the country they were forced to run away from. Hope, in the form of education, is the best therapy for those who dream of a better future.

Josephine is 26 and arrived in Palabek almost a year and a half ago. She fled the war when her village near the border was attacked and indiscriminate shootings made her fear for her life and, above all, for the lives of her three children, aged 8, 6 and 3.

Palabek is the only refugee settlement now open in Uganda. The story of Josephine is similar to that of most of the refugees who arrive there. They are people who fled at night, to avoid being discovered, who walked several days without food or water until they reached the border. They are doctors, professors, policemen, lawyers, engineers ... But in the camp they are only refugees and the majority are women.

Josephine represents an exception in Palabek, as most people aspire to stay in Uganda: "My husband is a teacher and he works in the capital of South Sudan. We are in contact and as soon as the situation improves, I want to reach him."

The Salesians, who are the only one of the 32 organizations active in Palabek to live within the settlement, met Josephine in one of the chapels scattered throughout the camp. "At the beginning I would prepare porridge for kindergarten children, then they hired me as a cook."

Josephine's mother and brother live with her in a hut and take care of the children when they are not at school. Like all the families present in Palabek, in addition to their humble home they have a small 30 square meter vegetable garden, with which it is possible to complete the food distribution offered once a month by the World Food Program.

"The Salesians give us hope through the education they give to our children and the formation they offer to us. It is a way for us to feel useful when we think of the future, of peace in our country and of being able to return to our home," concludes Josephine.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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