“Since my husband died when he was cut in pieces by the militants in Congo last year, life became very difficult for me,” said 48-year-old Ithungu, now a refugee in Uganda. She had fled the conflict-wracked Democratic Republic of the Congo with over thousands of others, after a particularly brutal attack on 8 December 2017. In the escalating violence more than 20 villages were targeted by terrorists who set homes on fire and attacked local people with guns and machetes.
Not content with this, the militants then charged the fleeing villagers “exit fees” before allowing them over the border to the safety of Uganda. According to the UNHCR, reports say they also separated family members, forcibly recruiting the young men to join the militant forces. Some refugees took the land route, while others crossed Lake Albert in makeshift fishing boats, liable to sink.
The refugees arrived in Uganda destitute and penniless. Malnutrition set in, as people tried to exist on one meal a day.
Crying from hunger and helplessness
“For the last six months since we ran from Congo because of war, we have been suffering with hunger. We have been taking a cup of porridge as our lunch and supper. My children used to cry because of hunger,” said Arioni, adding that she too wanted to cry because of her helplessness.
But now Barnabas Fund is assisting a group of refugees who fled to Kasese District, Uganda. With funding from Barnabas, the local church is providing rice, beans, maize flour and cooking oil. At last Arioni’s family can eat three times a day. “I pray that God pour His blessings to Barnabas Fund for the help they gave us,” says Arioni.
Praising God for the simplest of blessings
Keeping clean and healthy is next to impossible for refugees who have lost everything. Ithungu described how she and her family had to cut up jerry cans to use for washing clothes and bathing. Many people are suffering from diarrhoea, malaria or cholera. Others fell sick through spending cold nights sleeping in the open.
But Barnabas Fund has provided soap, water purification tablets, large plastic bowls, blankets, mosquito nets and medicines. The smallest things mean so much when you have nothing. Ithungu is praising God for two plastic bowls she has got now.
Will you help turn their tears to praise and thanks?
10 mosquito nets cost £30 ($40; €34)
30kg of rice costs £24 ($32; €27)
3 blankets cost £23 ($31; €26)
30kg of beans costs £18 ($24; €20)
10 bars of soap cost £6 ($8; €7)
2 large plastic bowls cost £3 ($4; €3.50)
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