Betty Uhuru with her three children Nancy, Gloria and Noel in their new home in Kalobeyei. Photo: Klaus Bo

"My children should not suffer as I have"

A month ago the fighting in Juba came close to 30 year old Betty Uhurus home. She fled with her three children and has now reached safety in Kenya where she hopes for a safe future for her children.


Betty Uhurus gestures to welcome the visitors into her new home. It is similar to all other houses here on the outskirts of Kalobeyei settlement in the North-western Kenyan refugee camp Kakuma. The house is built by wooden poles with a tin roof and plastic sheeting as walls. The house has just been finished and Betty moved with her three children as soon as it was ready. More than 2,000 others are still waiting to get a roof over their heads.

"Welcome," she says and points to the plastic chairs, which have been brought in from outside for the occasion. Betty’s own furniture consists of one mattress and two mats, which she received, when she moved in. On top of this she has received some household appliances including 18 liter jerry cans for water, a pot, a wash basin, soap and firewood for cooking. 

"This is a good place. I feel safe here," she says.

A month and a half earlier fighting broke out near Betty’s home in South Sudan’s capitol Juba.

"There was fighting very close to my home. Many people were killed and many homes were burnt. It was chaos and many fled at the same time. I ran with the children. My husband also fled, but I don't know where he is now," says Betty Uhuru.

She has not been in contact with him since the flight and do not know if he is still alive.

"Many people fled on the same road here. Some were alone. Some with their children. Some of the children were alone. We walked on the road and when a car passed, we paid to drive with them."

She hopes the refugee settlement will provide her with the opportunity to create a better future for herself, but more importantly for her children.

"If I can get help, I want to start a business, so I can make some money for me and my children. I really want them to go school. I don't want my children to end like me. They need to go to school, so my children won't suffer like I have."

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) which has been operational in Kakuma since 2014 plans to roll out protection and livelihood activities for the new arrivals. DRC will train the new arrivals on the village savings and loans (VSL) methodology as a way of helping the refugees save money, start businesses of their own and become self-reliant. DRC also plans to teach the refugees who have been allocated a small piece of land behind their shelters how to develop kitchen gardens and to grow vegetables which will supplement and diversify their diet.