In mid-2017, Nurture Africa commenced working in two refugee settlements for South Sudanese people fleeing ongoing conflict in their country. These camps are located in the Northern Uganda districts of Arua (IMVEPI Refugee settlement, which hosts 86,000 refugees) and Lamwo (Palabek Refugee Settlement which hosts 16,976 refugees).
Nurture Africa are supporting the educational system within these camps by providing scholastic materials for all pupils, teacher training, learning aids for teachers and building classrooms.
Nurture Africa staff in IMVEPI camp sat down and spoke with two school teachers who explained what forced them to leave their homes in South Sudan and flee across the border into Uganda.
Lombe Ephraim Wuli (left) and Lawrence Loro (right) are both teachers from South Sudan teaching in Longamere Primary School, IMVEPI Refugee Settlement, Arua, Uganda.
We asked both gentlemen what drove them to leave their homes and flee to Uganda. Ephraim speaks first... "I started my journey from my village Kejikeji in southern Sudan. The war forced me and my family to the settlement. There is looting, the burning of homes and villages and killings. We had to leave for our safety. All schools were closed and there are no medical services. .We walked together on foot from South Sudan to the Uganda border for five days (both day and night) with other fellow refugees. When they reached the Uganda border where they were registered by UNHCR and transported to IMVEPI settlement camp".
Lawrences' story is very similar, hoever he states "I walked at night only to avoid being seen. Upon reaching IMPEVI camp I was re-united with my family whom had moved here previously".
Both men state that life in the camps is challenging. "Although we appreciate the security and shelter, the tents provided do not protect us from the weather and there is little food and no land for farming" explains Lawrence. Elphraim nods in approval explaining that food and lack of land for farming are his biggest concerns.
Within the school setting the challenges are many. "Firstly" explains Elpraim "there are 4,250 pupils in Longamere primary school with few classroom blocks which is leading to congestion in classes and poor delivery during learning sessions.. There is challenge also of long distance for refugee school going children due to few schools that are distance apart." Lawrence states "Pay is low and teachers nor students receive food".
However, despite the dire situation in their own country, both men see the challenges that exist as surmountable and know that through the support provided by Nurture Africa, both they and the pupils they are working with on a daily basis will benefit from their continued hard work in such difficult circumstances.