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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Uganda: how a gender-based violence survivor became a role model for women in emergencies

Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa and the 3rd largest in the world, of which 57% are from South Sudan.

The EU’s support is crucial to providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to refugees and host communities. The story of Tabitha, a 37-year-old single mother of 6, serves as a great example.

A refugee and a survivor of gender-based violence, Tabitha is now a member of the Women Lead in Emergency group supported by CARE International, with the aid of several support services funded by the EU.

Tabitha received health support, mental and psychosocial support, as well as cash assistance, to help her meet her various needs – including being able to provide school materials for her children.

She used part of the funds to start a small mukene (Silver fish) business, which is providing an alternative source of income for her family. Later, she joined the Village Savings & Loans Associations, further boosting her business.

Tabitha’s story is one of hardship and, often, despair – yet is also a tale of hope, illustrating what can be achieved when the necessary assistance is accessible.

Tabitha herself asks for this support to be offered to other women: “I now request the EU and other partners to extend the same support to other vulnerable groups, especially women and girls, given the reduction in food ration and the high rental fees charge for hiring land by the host community.”

“I can’t wait to appreciate the EU for all the support given to me and other refugees. My life and health have greatly changed because of all this support”, she says.

Tabitha standing in a green grassfield, 2 goats in the front.
Tabitha bought 3 goats and rented land from the host community. She later planted sorghum and procured more animals to boost her production. She hopes to improve her household income while empowering other women in the community with her business ideas.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bruno Franchetti)
Tabitha walking in a field, holding a goat with a rope.
To improve her business, Tabitha participated in training on farming as a business organised by CARE International with support from ‘For Africa Uganda’ organisation.
© CARE International, 2023. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Tabitha sitting outside against a white wall.
Tabitha fled the violence in South Sudan in 2019 and is now living as a refugee in the Imvepi refugee settlement with her 6 children. With her health deteriorating and her children unable to attend school, she turned to CARE International for support.
© CARE International, 2023. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
View of the village. In front grass fields in the back some buildings.
After receiving counselling, Tabitha joined the Women Lead in Emergency group where women always point out key issues that affect and hinder them from meaningful participation in community matters.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bruno Franchetti)
Photo of Yolanda Valassopoulou

Story by Yolanda Valassopoulou, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, based on a story provided by CARE INTERNATIONAL.

Publication date: 23/08/2023