According to the UN, 8000 people a day are currently fleeing the violence in the DR of the Congo — a total of 6.3 million people have been displaced so far. Many end up in Uganda, who has a policy of accepting all refugees.
Unfortunately, accepting them doesn’t mean helping them, so many end up in areas like the Namuwongo slum.
Neema’s family — mom with six children — live in a ramshackle hut in a refugee heavy area there. But Neema has an advantage over most of the refugees who are her neighbors:she’s enrolled at Touch the Slum.
When she joined the Literacy Program in June, Neema only spoke French and Swahili. Now she can speak English and is teaching her siblings.
This week we welcomed 17-year-old Alice and her newborn baby (no name as yet!) into our residential program as emergency admissions. Alice had been given her final eviction notice by her landlord, who didn’t care a bit that she’d just had a c-section.
Earlier this year, Alice fled the conflict in the Congo because a Congolese man living in Uganda told her he could get her a job as a housemaid. She made her way to him in Namuwongo, where — surprise! — there was no job. Instead, he kept her with him, abused her, and got her pregnant.
A week before she delivered, he left to go shopping and never returned.
Alice doesn’t speak any local languages, and had to make her own way to the public hospital when she went into labor. There, she delivered by c-section and was released the next day. She took herself home, where there was no money or food.
After a week, she reached out to a lady who had helped her with food a couple of times. The lady is a women’s leader in the community and knows about our work at Touch the Slum. Fortunately, she called the office right away to let the staff know she was bringing Alice to the compound.
After the interview, Sarah returned to Alice’s home to pack up her meager belongings before the landlord returned to kick her out. She’s now settled into the Ross House, and the baby is being treated for malaria by Nurse Brenda. With food and clean water, Alice is able to nurse again, and they are resting and recovering.
This is, unfortunately, an all too common story.
Teen girls are at the bottom of the social ladder, used, abused, disposable once they get pregnant. Thousands of babies are unclaimed by a father, and there is no governmental or societal pressure to provide for them.
But thanks to YOU and your support, we had room to bring Alice and the baby in. We can feed her, give them clean clothes, provide diapers for the baby, give them medical care, and Mama Santa can teach her to care for her newborn.
You are (truly!) lifesavers, and we can’t thank you enough.
PS We have a project up to fund the cost of Alice’s entry package, which included a mattress and bedding, clothes, and personal supplies, as well as things for the baby. If you’d like to contribute, just click below!