A woman smiles. She has an orange face mask pulled down so that her smile is visible.

Uganda: "I have the power to change other people"

Photo: Turpaina Nyoka inside her shop. CARE Uganda

Like tales of most refugee women, Turpaina Nyoka aged 40, fled the war in South Sudan in May 2018 together with her seven children and was resettled in Village 5 in Omugo Zone of the Rhino Camp Settlement, Terego District. With nothing to supplement the food rations distributed by World Food Program (WFP) and United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR), Life was miserable and she felt useless. Fortunately for her, life took a new twist and she has never regretted it. She narrates. 

 “Sometimes my children and I used to sleep hungry and other times we only ate greens without salt as we waited and looked forward to the next food distribution day. Life was hopeless; I had no idea what to do, to sustain my family besides the food ration and I also felt useless with no value in the community” 

According to Nyoka, her mind was only fixed on the food ration and never thought there was anything she could do to generate an income that could sustain her family however this changed when she came in contact with CARE’s Lead in Emergencies component. Nyoka is not only able to fend for her family but she is also among the women leaders in her community who are creating change.

A woman bends over to grab straw out of a cloth bag.

Nyoka showing her silverfish business. Credit: CARE Uganda 

“I got to know CARE through a friend who encouraged me to join the South Sudanese Women Association in July 2019. After joining the group, I wondered how I was going to manage to save every week when I could not even afford to buy a packet of salt in my house. However, I was lucky when CARE organized training almost the same time I joined. During the training, we were advised that we should save whatever little we have which would later help us as a start-up for our businesses. I attended four trainings which kept changing me each time. The transport allowance I was given to attend the training is what I saved to buy a few stationary materials that I started with but I have now changed to selling silverfish and charcoal. I am now able to cater for myself and we have never slept hungry again. When the business expands, I want to save and get enough money to take my children to study from abroad.  I have no plans to go back home because there is no safe place protected by the United Nations (UN)."    

"I am also the Vice person of our group where I encourage and lead fellow women in areas of family planning and support couples to identify and refer cases of Gender-Based Violence to the responsible people. I have now realized that I am not unless as I used to think but I have the power to change other women through my leadership roles. I am grateful to CARE because I have been empowered and I am a proud woman,” explains Nyoka beaming with joy. 

Nyoka is a member and Vice-Chairperson to the South Sudanese Refugee Women’s Association, one of the five women groups supported by CARE’s Women Lead in Emergencies component that is under that Global Affairs Canada project being implement in Omugo Zone of Rhino camp settlement.