Widow rebuilds her life and brings hope to her children in Kyaka Refugee Settlement

Masika Nzanzu Tantine is a 25-year-old Congolese refugee living in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo with her 2 children after the tragic death of her husband when fighting broke out in her country in 2019. “When I saw my husband die, I had no choice but to run away from Goma with my children to Uganda.”

“When I arrived we started life in a small shelter I built using materials bought from my little savings in Goma. I struggled to cope with life in Uganda because I had no money to take proper care of myself and my children. I started selling charcoal but the profits would end up being used to feed my family and it was frustrating. One day, when I saw the Oxfam people digging trenches near my community, I approached them for work and they allowed me to dig the trenches and lay water pipes in Sweswe, Itambabiniga and Kaborogota. This activity was very tedious as I could always return home tired and many times unable to cook for my children.”

Tantine realized the danger this would cause her children so she requested her Oxfam supervisor to provide her with a less demanding and time-consuming job. In August 2020, she was appointed and trained as a pump operator for the Sweswe piped water system. “I now have enough time to take care of my children,” She says.

As a pump operator, Tantine earns a daily stipend of UGX. 10,000 which she uses to purchase basic home supplies, provide a balanced diet, buy clothes for the children, buy Vaseline and sanitary pads with the rest being saved and invested.

“From this job, I have been able to buy 4 ducks, each costing UGX. 20,000 from my savings. These ducks will produce many more ducklings which I will sell in the market to get more money.”

With the opportunity that Tantine knows her life is much better than when she first arrived, she looks forward to a better future. Tantine also emphasized the need to join a savings group in her community so that she can afford a better life. She noted that “after working with Oxfam and saving some money, I hope to buy a mattress for my children to sleep comfortably, a phone for communicating with some of my relatives in Goma and open a merchandise shop to support my family better. “I am soon joining a savings group which I will use to keep my money for the future and also boost my business”.

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With funding from UNHCR, Oxfam has been able to provide opportunities like employment to refugees. These in turn have empowered them to become self-reliant and provide several options of development for the refugees.