“CAFOMI supported me when I was at my lowest point” Ihimbe’s story.

Ihimbe smiles widely with her daughter Furahi and son Elisha in front of their new house at Kyangwali refugee settlement. Photo by Nicholas Shawn Mugarura.

Yanice Ihimbe is a 44-year-old Congolese single mother of 4 children, she and her children fled to Kyangwali refugee settlement in western Uganda to escape war in Democratic Republic of Congo. Her husband remained behind she’s not sure if he is alive.

Ihimbe as a single mother goes through a lot of struggle to feed her children, though she is grateful for the support from various organizations in terms of education and medical health. But she feels unsafe since she has no man to protect her and the children, a stranger recently burnt her house to ashes.

“On the fateful day a stranger came and requested for food at my home, unfortunately I didn’t have any food to offer him since I was also struggling to feed my own children. Later on that night at around 1:00 am, I was woken up by loud noise from neighbors, my house was on fire.  I managed to run out of the house with my children but it was too late to save any of my properties, I painfully watched everything burn to ashes.” Ihimbe narrated.

Ihimbe slept at her friend’s house. In the morning, she had to report to the block leader who guided her to CAFOMI’s office. “I was all panicking but after talking with a CAFOMI staff, Mitala, I felt at peace. CAFOMI supported me when I was at my lowest point.”

Henry Mitala, CAFOMI GBV assistant, supported Ihimbe in a psychosocial session and further guided her to go report to police. On return to CAFOMI office, she was referred to ALIGHT to for shelter construction support. CAFOMI also offered her a dignity kit and she was trained in a baking program.

After CAFOMI’s referral, ALIGHT supported Ihimbe with building materials and rebuilding her house. Life was difficult after she lost her house she would sleep at the neighbor’s house and sometimes at church for a couple of months. She was so worried for her children’s health.

“I’m grateful that with CAFOMI’s support and ALIGHT, I’m able to have a decent shelter I have settled down, I’m able to cultivate and feed my children and also do my small scale business of making mandazi ( fried bread).” Ihimbe said.

They later learnt that the man who burnt the house stayed at a neighbor’s place, when he was arrested by police, he claimed that he was roasting maize in the kitchen and fire spread and burnt the house.

Ihimbe sorts maize with her daughter Furahi and son Elisha shortly after their breakfast at their home in Kyangwali refugee settlement. Photo by Nicholas Shawn Mugarura.

“I want to expand in agriculture, I heard that people are receiving land under DR DIP Project, I would also wish to get land and since I can’t afford renting a bigger piece of land, this will help me to plant more and make more harvests hence sustain my family.” Ihimbe said.

With funds from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office through CARE international under the APEAL IV project, Care and Assistance for Forced Migrants (CAFOMI) continues to support refugees at Kyangwali refugee settlement, alongside other consortium partners with a wide range of protection and mental health assistance through Access to Protection, Empowerment, Accountability and Leadership (APEAL) Action.

Author is MEAL & Communications Assistant at CAFOMI.

Similar Posts