From Fear to Dependence to Self-Reliance: Akim Robert a South Sudanese refugee forced out of his country finds new hope to support his family through his work at AFI
Written by Annah Asasiira, Admin. Assistant – West Nile Refugee Response
It is nearly 3 years since Akim Robert a 31 year old father of one fled South Sudan with his wife and daughter. Walking hundreds of kilometers day and night, he arrived in Uganda carrying nothing but a backpack of clothes.
“Everything happened so fast. I lost people close to me in the war and I also lost my job.” Akim narrates.
Akim worked at a law firm while in South Sudan but when the war broke out, he was forced to leave the country.
“When I arrived in Uganda, I had to line up to receive food assistance like any other refugee. It was hard at the beginning but I got used to it.”
Ambitious and determined to change his life story, Akim started out in 2017 as a volunteer in the nutrition project implemented by AFI in partnership with UNWFP at Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement.
“Every step of the way was a challenge; I almost quit the training considering I had no background in nutrition science but thanks to the team at AFI. They were patient, they kept encouraging me.”
Today, Akim works with AFI Arua Sub-Office as a Distribution Assistant in the General Food Assistance (GFA) project.
Among other roles, Akim is tasked with beneficiary sensitization, community mobilization and coordination of food distribution activities at the distribution points in liaison with the Food Assistance Managers and the Refugee local leaders
“My life is much better now.” Akim says. “In Sudan I was constantly exposed to human rights violation but here in Uganda my family is safe.”
With the money from his savings, Akim constructed a semi-permanent house for his family in the plot allocated to him by the government of Uganda.
“I have become a role model to many of my friends.” Akim says with a smile. “My advice to my fellow refugees is – if you’re good at what you do and you have patience you will succeed.”
Uganda is home to 1.2 million refugees who left their countries due to human rights violation and are often struggling to find means of earning income to sustain their families.
The GFA project is implemented by Andre Foods International (AFI) in partnership with United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP). The objective is to bridge the food insecurity gap among refugee households. AFI is currently distributing food/cash to over 150,000 refugees in Rhino Camp and Kiryandongo refugee settlements.
Akim is just one of the 784 refugees who volunteer in the food/cash distribution process