Financial Aid Boosts Refugee Livelihoods

 

My name is Damali Akampurira and I fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018. While in Congo, I experienced many challenges especially mistreatment from my husband, whom I eventually separated from; then the terrors from the rebels who invaded people’s homes at night captured and tortured people for money. Because of these experiences, and after my neighbours were attacked, I decided to seek refuge in Uganda.

I walked with my children from Nyamwisi in Congo to Butogota in Kanungu district, Uganda, before being transported and resettled in Kyaka II refugee settlement in March 2018. Life was hard for me, I didn’t have clothes for my children, and I only depended on the food rations provided by the World Food Program.

I later learnt of an opportunity at Oxfam of being a hygiene promoter. I applied and got the job. I get some money which has helped me to buy materials and construct my home, and also buy basic home items. Life started to change and I also started a business of selling flour which has helped me support my children.

Boosting financial status

I received information from one of my old friends who stays in Kaborogota about the advert from Oxfam, that called for interested individuals to apply for cash grant support. Since I have always wanted to start up a business and become self-employed, I applied for the opportunity.

A few days later, I received a call from an Oxfam staff member, who came to my home and asked me a few questions. After this, I was informed that I was going to be supported with a cash grant of 500,000 shillings to enable me to start up my business of maize selling, as I had requested in my application.

However, things did not go according to plan. Before acquiring the maize flour, I realized that the maize produce from the farmers was minimal and that the season wasn’t good So I resorted to my second business option of selling clothes. I bought clothes from Mubende and set up shop at my house, but I also sell in the market. I sell clothes for babies, children, women and men.

In a week, I can make about 80,000 shillings, which I use to buy new stock and support my family through buying home basic needs like soap, sugar and food. I also save some of the money and I hope to expand my business in the near future. I plan to rent a room in Kaborogota centre where there is a high demand for her commodities.

I also intend to venture into other businesses like selling shoes and constructing rental units to be able to earn more income and be in a position to take care of her family and ensure her children get a good education and live a decent life.

I am truly grateful to Oxfam for the support they have given me and other refugees. I have had this idea of being a businesswoman for long, but I did not know where to start from. Oxfam has helped my dream come true and I hope many more people are able to benefit from the Oxfam program.

 

With funding from the Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD), Oxfam has been able to support over 300 refugees including Damali with opportunities to be self-reliant including providing business cash grants, vocational skills training as well as agricultural input.