Young refugees face challenges daily

At the Bidibidi refugee camp, even everyday things are challenging. 20-year-old Maneno Rose tells her story.

The 20-year-old Maneno Rose is originally from Yei in South Sudan. Like many other Sudanese, she fled the civil war to Bidibidi in 2016. Her father died from rebel’s bullets in the war. Maneno Rose of the Pojulu tribe came to Uganda with her mother and five siblings, the youngest of whom are three-year-old twins.

Maneno Rose’s favorite subjects are biology, chemistry, English and physics in her final year of high school. She dreams of becoming a midwife because she has seen how childbirth can be very painful, and she wants to help mothers.

– When we fled Sudan, my mother was pregnant and had to give birth to twins along the way. Mother suffered a lot but survived and gave birth to twins.

Maneno Rose dreams of becoming a midwife because she has seen that childbirth can be very painful: on their escape from Sudan, her mother gave birth by the roadside.

Every-day challenges of refugees

Maneno Rose and her family face many challenges in their daily lives in Bidibidi. Because their father died, no one helps them with hard work, such as building a house. The siblings are still too young to help much with housework, so Maneno Rose and her mother do most of the work. For example, getting firewood is challenging. Sometimes when they’re looking for firewood, arguments with local residents about where the trees can be collected arise. In these cases, the locals may chase them or take away their machetes, which the women use to cut grass and trees. Getting water is also challenging because they have to carry it from far away. The size of food rations for residents has been reduced because the corona epidemic has reduced the availability of food. A two-month ration is not enough for the whole family, which is why the mother and smaller childen suffer and cry a lot.

Everyday things like getting water and firewood are challenging in a refugee camp. Due to the reduced food rations, Maneno Rose’s family suffers from hunger.

While daily situations are often very challenging, Maneno Rose trusts in God and prays that He will help her pass the final exams and cope with the problems caused by the Corona epidemic.

– I also pray that God would help me support my younger siblings because they are suffering from this difficult situation.

Maneno Rose is particularly concerned that with the closure of schools, many young people have joined youth gangs. She prays that the schools will open soon and that the young people will return and not get caught up in the gangs.

– I’m afraid that many young people will join the gangs and never return to school again.

Maneno Rose is the middle one in the picture.

Proceeds from this year’s Food for Life campaign will help Bibidibidi’s refugee children. You can find out more about this on the campaign page: eväätelämää (in finnish)