Will you send the gift of hope to refugees like Grace?

Grace and her baby daughter in a refugee settlement in Uganda

When you think of refugees, Uganda may not be the first place you think of.

But there are currently more than 1.3 million refugees in Uganda – the highest number in the country’s history. Desperate families have fled from surrounding countries, often walking for days in the hope of finding refuge. They have been forced to flee their homes in the face of unspeakable violence, instability and hunger. 

17-year-old Grace* is one of them.

She fled from South Sudan, walking for days, desperate to reach safety in Uganda. She now lives in a refugee settlement and she wanted to share her story with us.

You may find her story upsetting but it’s important we hear Grace’s words.

When the war broke out, I ran and hid with my dad. There was no food, so my father left to look for some. He ran into a soldier who shot him in the head. I found my dad’s body lying on the road. I cleaned the blood off his body and cried. I was so sad and upset. I started to think, ‘Who am I going to live with?’

Grace was taken in by some neighbours who helped her but tragically, the trauma didn’t end there.

As I was cooking outside one day, I saw men approaching. One man grabbed my hand and pulled me. He said, ‘If you scream, we will shoot you.’ He raped me while the other man aimed his gun at me. Then they left.

Her neighbours told her to keep this ordeal a secret as she could be ostracised by the community. She kept it quiet until her stomach started growing and she realised she was pregnant. It was then she knew she had to leave South Sudan for the safety of her and her baby.

I decided to come to Uganda because life in South Sudan was so hard. I walked to the border in Uganda. I would walk all day then sleep at night, walk then sleep.

As soon as she reached Uganda, she registered as an orphan and was given a small shelter where she and her daughter could live. There are many things Grace misses such as the chance to go to school but she’s relieved that at least she and her daughter are now safe.

Grace and her baby daughter inside a tent
Grace and her baby daughter inside their tent at the refugee settlement

Grace is incredibly resilient. Everything she once knew was taken away from her but with the support she has received from CARE, she’s been able to move forward. We’re providing refugees like Grace with the vital items they need to survive such as food, shelter and medical care. We’re also providing psychosocial support to refugees who have experienced trauma like Grace.

*Name changed to protect her identity.

Please donate now. With your support, we can help refugees like Grace start to recover and focus on their futures.

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Infographic of CARE's help to refugees in Uganda

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.