Rebuilding Life After Tragedy
Damali Akampurira is a Congolese refugee who came to Uganda in 2018. Together with her 03 children, she fled DRC in fear for her life and for her children because of conflicts, kidnappings coupled with endless killings of people.
While in Congo, she experienced a number of challenges especially mistreatment from her husband, whom she eventually separated from and the terrors from the rebels who invaded their homes at night, captured and tortured people for money. Because of these experiences, she observed happening to her neighbours, Damali decided to seek refuge in Uganda.
She walked with her 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 World Food Program,” she said.
Damali later learnt of an opportunity at Oxfam of being a hygiene promoter. She applied and got the job she says, “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 started a business of selling flour which has helped me support my children.”
Involvement in Income Generating Activities
“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, asked me a few questions. After this, I was informed that I was going to be supported with a cash grant of 500,000 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, Damali realized that the maize produce from the farmers was minimal and that the season wasn’t good. Damali then resorted to her second business option, which was selling clothes. She bought clothes from Mubende and set up shop in her home, and also sells in the market. In her business, she sells 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,” noted Damali. She plans to rent a room in Kaborogota centre where there is a high demand for her commodities.
Damali also plans to diversify to 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 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.
Story compiled by Anna Ruyondo K
Emergency Food Security and Vulnerable Livelihoods (EFSVL) Assistant