In Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, 17,651 refugee women are persons with special needs with more than one quarter classified as most vulnerable. This was the case for Sarah Ajoney five months ago when she learned about the Sawa Le Salaam Project. Now, Sarah owns a small business.
Ajonye, aged 20, is an orphan and a trauma survivor taking care of her seven siblings. She had no alternative source of funds or livelihood besides food ration to meet their basic needs. And so, they most times ate once a day to ensure the food could last the whole month. Then, Sarah got selected to participate in a 3-day trauma healing and business skills training in Zone 3. The training is an initiative of the Sawa Le Salaam Project, being implemented by CECI with funding from OXFAM IBIS, that seeks to improve the livelihoods of eight vulnerable women through skills development.
After Sarah completed the training, she was given startup capital and support with mentorship to start and grow her business idea. She started a vegetables and fish business both at home and in the market. Five months down the road, Sarah has bought goats and ducks out of her savings and has joined a savings group. “I am so happy we eat three times a day now. [and] still can meet other basic needs.’ – Sarah Ajonye. She now dreams of growing and sustaining her business to be able to send her siblings to school.
While basic needs like food and clothing are still missing for many vulnerable refugee women and their families, there are local actors like CECI UGANDA who are willing to give people like Ajonye a second chance.