Amidst violence and despair, Esther from South Sudan finds security and peace
South Sudanese refugee finds security and peace amidst the violence
The people of South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, have endured too much suffering.
Since conflict erupted in December 2013, it has produced one of the world’s worst refugee crises. A recent flare-up of violence caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent people and put thousands more at risk. To make a dire situation even worse, drought caused acute food shortages.
Desperate for nourishment, healthcare and safety, more than 52,000 South Sudanese refugees crossed into Uganda — more than 85 percent of them women and children. Many settled in UNHCR-supported Pagarinya Refugee Camp, including single mother Esther Ojabajon and her seven children, who range in age from three to 20 years old.
When gunfire erupted in their village one evening, Esther and her family ran for their lives, reaching a border site before eventually finding safety at Pagarinya.
"Here I don’t have to worry about security or protect my children. We can live in peace."
With her designated plot of land, Esther is already making plans to grow peanuts, corn and other vegetables. Her two oldest children have resumed their studies, and the entire family is getting the food, shelter and healthcare they need.
Most of all, Esther has a renewed sense of optimism for her family.
"I’m a farmer. Now I can support my children again. I have hope that our lives will be better."
Nearly one in four South Sudanese citizens are either displaced within its borders or have fled to neighboring countries. This year, the total number of South Sudanese refugees could exceed one million.
But thanks to USA for UNHCR’s steadfast, generous donors, UNHCR — the UN Refugee Agency — is able to restore dignity and hope for vulnerable children, women and men. In South Sudan, Ukraine, Syria, the Central African Republic and anywhere in the world where people are fleeing their homes to escape conflict and violence.