“I walk 20kms every day from point H up to point E in the refugee settlement. I wake up at 6:00am and walk to Imvepi SS to reach in time” Sida said.
Gladys Sida, 20 years, a South Sudanese residing in village 9 in Imvepi Settlement says she walks 20km to access secondary education in Imvepi Secondary school.
Imvepi secondary school is the only secondary school in Imvepi settlement that has a vast area and all those undergoing secondary education including locals and Refugees access education from the school.
Sida who is a single mother of one child said her child is very weak and took time for him to walk a reason organizations and Oxfam came to her aid and gave financial support.
She received Sh500,000 from World Vision under child protection and another Sh115,000 from Oxfam under Water Sanitation and Hygiene WASH.
Narrating her story to New Vision, Sida says, she leaves her child home under the care of a neighbor and walks 20kms daily from Monday to Friday to access secondary education in Imvepi SS.
According to Sida, the three-year-old child needed special attention and basic needs for sanitation, but she lacked money to procure the items.
She lacked Jericans, basins, and soap, but the support has boosted her capacity to acquire the items. she used part of the money from World Vision to treat her child who is now able to walk, talk, ran around and play with friends.
As a single mother, Sida said the father of the child abandoned her the time she conceived but she took a decision to raise the child alone and went back to school.
"I walk 20kms every day from point H up to point E in the refugee settlement. I wake up at 6:00 am and walk to Imvepi SS to reach in time" Sida said.
My main challenge is when it rains; I remain home until the rain stops, then resort to doing other things. Imvepi refugee settlement only has one secondary school.
She appeals to partner organizations to construct a secondary school at point J in villages 1,3,4,5 all in zone.1 to avoid walking long distance to point E in zone 3.
"If I have money, I leave with the neighbor to take care of my child and if there is flour, I give to my neighbor to prepare food for my child, while I go to school," Sida said.
Sida's parents reside in Koboko district but because of the cost of school fees, her parents cannot help her, a reason she decided to settle in Imvepi refugee settlement and raise her own school fees through making bricks, toilet slabs, and liquid soap.
Sida spends six hours in school from 9:00am to 4:00pm. From Yei River state in South Sudan, Sida says she speaks Bari from a tribe called Pojulu.
She gets 24kgs of maize, four cups of cooking oil, 10 cups of beans and 5.6kgs of salt from the World Food Program food distribution project.
Sida arrived in Uganda on February 23, 2016, as a refugee. "I immediately disclosed my challenges at the reception center that attracted World Vision to support me and my child. They constructed a house for me and my child".
Sida who benefited as a vulnerable refugee woman because of her child advises other vulnerable refugees to open up and share their challenges. she said Action Aid trained her to make toilet slabs and she is paid Sh18,000 per slab per day.
In a group of 10 people, Sida and her friends are able to raise money from making toilet slabs in the refugee settlement and each member gets paid on the same rate of Sh18,000 per day.
Besides slab making, Sida also lay bricks and sales to Norwegian Refugee Council to build houses for other vulnerable persons. She sales each unburnt brick at Sh200.
She has been able to save money to pay her school fees at Imvepi secondary School in the Imvepi refugee settlement.
"I pay Sh20,000 as school fees. Other costs are offset by Windle Trust that supports education in the refugee settlement" Sida narrates.