Unconditional cash grants given by LWF where one of Spectrum's team member Bruno Tumusiime works, bring joy to refugees with special needs. A visit by Brainy Swaibu
Digging, fetching water and firewood are routine household chores in most African settings. For Anny, a 25-year-old Congolese refugee, they were her only source of income. With no other means, the single mother had to traverse the forests in the night’s wee hours to make ends meet.
Anny crossed Lake Albert, the natural boundary between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda, into Western Uganda in March 2018 with her four children. Settled in the Kyangwali refugee settlement, she could hardly feed her children two meals a day with the meagre food rations. The children, in return, resorted to stealing food from the neighbors and risked mob justice if the owners caught them.
“I decided to start fetching and selling water and firewood to other people in the settlement and host communities. This work was not easy, because I needed to fetch five jerrycans of water to raise just Shs1,000 ($0.28) a day,” Anny said. This could hardly help provide family needs, especially food.
“It was risky since we had to wake up at night to fetch water before the lines at the boreholes grew too long. Collecting firewood was even more dangerous, since the forest reserve had restricted access, and was highly guarded.”, she recounts.
In addition to exposing her to beatings and rape, Anny crossed thick bushes harboring
thieves, wild animals, and injury at night to collect firewood.
“My 10-year-old child and I would also get odd jobs like digging people’s gardens for as long as six hours a day to earn less than a dollar, “she reminisces.