For Atoch Lual, living as a blind woman in South Sudan was incredibly difficult.
Atoch Lual has reason to feel hopeless.
As a mother of 8 sons she was able to find joy in them for years, but as they got older they each joined the army until only two were left at home. Over time each of her sons in the army were killed during the conflict, leaving Atoch mourning the loss of her children. Out of the two sons left at home, one has a disability, making it difficult for him to help around the house.
As time went on Atoch started to become blind and unable to take care of the home in the same way. Her husband had many wives and as Atoch’s condition worsened, he left her to live with another wife who was able to take care of him.
Living in South Sudan is difficult enough, let alone as a blind woman with no husband or children with the ability to help. Atoch began having suicidal thoughts due to a lack of hope for the future.
Some community leaders assessed Atoch’s situation and helped her to register for food assistance through Tearfund. The food helped her to realize that there were people who cared for her. And then came the resources and training. Atoch was given seeds, a hoe, an axe, and a watering can so she could be trained to farm and garden.
Still, her blindness was a challenge to the process so with the help of her children and Tearfund, a fence was built surrounding the garden to help her navigate more easily.
After being trained in farming, Atoch was invited to join an agriculture group. The group is a support system that helps each other during sickness and in things they cannot do alone. They meet daily to water gardens, repair fences, and pluck weeds. Now, at harvest time Atoch has enough to feed her family two meals a day with some extra to sell for an income.