“I dream of rebuilding a home and life here”Susan and her family are part of the over 300,000 new arrivals from South Sudan who have fled the ongoing violence since July 2016 and have sought refuge in Uganda.
21 year old Susan Kwaje is from Central Equatorial state in South Sudan. She arrived into Uganda’s Bidibidi settlement two months ago with her husband, mother-in law and two children. Susan and her family are part of the over 300,000 new arrivals from South Sudan who have fled the ongoing violence since July 2016 and have sought refuge in Uganda.
“When the fighting and killings started, we decided to flee towards the border. We only managed to carry very few of our belongings. We walked for three days in the bushes,” explains Susan as she finishes washing her dishes after a lunch meal and in readiness for a hygiene awareness session by DRC’s WASH team.
Despite the difficulties of fleeing from the violence on foot, Susan and her family managed to reach the Kei border point where they spent two days before being relocated to the Bidibidi reception center. They were accommodated for a night and then were relocated to the Bidibidi settlement in Yumbe district, where they were allocated a plot of land and are now trying to rebuild their life.
“We are very happy here. I dream of rebuilding a home here and at least our children can access education. Since we arrived, we have received a lot of support from many organisations like DRC. We are now able to drink clean water that DRC delivers every day. When we were coming from Lainya (their village) we would drink from the water ponds that we found on the way,” continues Susan.
DRC as part of its emergency response to the increasing arrivals of South Sudanese is trucking clean water to Bidibidi settlement where Susan and her family live. In addition, DRC is conducting hygiene promotion sessions for the community in order to encourage proper hygiene among the refugees.
“We have learnt a lot things from DRC. We have been taught about keeping drinking water covered, washing hands with soap or wash every time we go to the latrine and before eating food and going to the health facility when sick. Every Thursday DRC staff also bring us soap at the water points so that we can wash our jerry cans,” said Susan.
The increased numbers of arrivals being received at the reception centers as well as being relocated to the settlement areas has necessitated an enhanced WASH response particularly in respect to construction of sanitation facilities and general hygiene promotion awareness. DRC has embarked on providing building materials (tools for digging pit latrines, a slab, treated logs, nails and eucalyptus poles) for refugee households to help them construct sanitation facilities. In Bidibdi settlement, DRC has provided support to refugees in Zone 1 with WASH assistance.
“Before we received the support from DRC, we used to go to the bush. But DRC provided us with materials to construct our own toilet near our new house,” said Susan.
DRC continues to provide varied emergency assistance to the new arrivals from South Sudan including: managing the Kuluba collection point in Koboko and Ocea reception center in Rhino camp; providing hot meals for the new arrivals being received and hosted in this two areas; providing accommodation through construction of temporary shelters, water supply, construction of latrines and bath shelters as well as protection assistance. In addition, DRC is also providing WASH assistance to new arrivals in Nyumanzi transit centre as well as in Bidibidi settlement area.