Mum’s tired body looks little more than skin and bones. She has cataracts in both eyes and is barely able to see her child – one of five she cannot provide for because her lack of sight prevents her from digging or planting.
Hard as it may be to believe, she is part of an amazing success story – the story of a country being a good neighbour to more than one million people forced to flee from terrible danger.
That country is Uganda and this is Palorinya refugee settlement.
The family is among thousands who live here in safety from armed militias who roam their home country of South Sudan – murdering, raping and pillaging at will.
Uganda’s welcome for its desperate neighbours has earned it worldwide recognition. Its numerous settlements provide food, water, shelter and schools for the people who continue to pour across the border.
On arrival at Palorinya, the mother of five told a translator that her husband was arrested back in Kajo Keji. She has not seen him since that day.
Her name is Rose.
Like many refugees before her, Rose was then provided with the emergency food allowance allocated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UHNCR). Her feverish baby was given a blood test for malaria and pronounced free from the deadly disease. Finally, she went to her new home in the settlement with antibiotics for her little one’s infection.
From this humblest of beginnings, she will now try to rebuild her family’s life.
MAF’s regular Northern Shuttle flights are crucial to refugees. We fly Christian charity Medical Teams International (MTI) to airstrips close to several settlements, saving them up to 14 hours on dangerous roads. A safe, comfortable flight with MAF takes only 90 minutes and means more lives are saved.
Last November, MTI were approached by UNHCR who were desperate for their expert help in meeting critical healthcare needs. Thanks to MAF, MTI’s rapid provision of medicines and doctors stopped malaria, typhoid, dysentery and cholera epidemics that would have been catastrophic.
Your support means that people around the world in desperate need of basic healthcare will receive it as quickly as possible.
Today, Uganda is home to refugees from many countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Ethiopia.
The vast majority of them were trapped in terrible poverty, close to starvation, highly susceptible to disease and fearful that the next gunshot would herald disaster for their village.
MAF and its partners work tirelessly to establish safe havens for those who have escaped death and now just want the chance of a peaceful life.
Opening an airstrip at Adjumani has proved crucial to this influx of refugees into Uganda. The potential for another near the huge Bidi Bidi settlement is being explored.
It doesn’t bear thinking about how many innocent men, women and children would have perished had Uganda not opened its heart to more than one million neighbours.
If success stories such as Palorinya are to continue, MAF’s regular flight programme must be maintained. Please send a gift – it is essential if those living in fear, isolation and poverty are ever going to see their lives rebuilt and transformed.
We are constantly inspired and encouraged by the response we receive from thousands of supporters.
Your commitment to MAF is a blessing to the poor and humble worldwide. God bless you.