“Life is difficult in the refugee settlement, especially with a family,” John tells us. “We had to return to Kajo-Keji. We wanted to have our own land.”
John Katosa and his wife Ester Juan have never known security. But when they fled their village in Kajo Keji because of conflict it took on a new meaning. They lived in the refugee camp for years, anxious for the chance to return home.
Years of war and political strife has meant that 9 out of 10 South Sudanese suffer with extreme hunger. And over half of children between the ages of two and five eat only one meal a day.
John and Ester returned home with thousands of other refugees seeking to rebuild. But when they arrived, they found the land had been laid to ruin and struggled to get started.
But thanks to your gifts, we are midway through a new innovative project called HERD. This project is helping returning refugee families move away from handouts and towards a future free from poverty.
First, seven hundred vulnerable families were provided with urgently needed food. Next, six thousand families received seed kits, farming tools, and training in sustainable farming practices. The land in Kajo Keji is very fertile, with the training families have been able to grow thriving gardens full of okra, tomatoes, eggplants, onions, beans, peanuts and cassava. Through the project, women’s inequality is also addressed, encouraging families to keep girls in school, prevent child marriages, and allow for greater decision making in the home.
As part of the project, John and Ester joined a savings group and are starting to save some of their earnings. Collectively, these groups have saved over $10,000 so far! Through Tearfund you are helping families find real, lasting change.