Refugee Mothers: Living in the Imvepi Settlement, Uganda
Through portraiture the series aims to empower refugee mothers and foster a dialogue about the need to safely access water, food, and firewood in the Imvepi Settlement, Uganda. Collecting food, water, and firewood in many African countries is a huge burden on women. Lack of safe access to these resources can be life-threatening particularly in conflict situations. Women not only face the threat of rape but compete with other people who also need the resources.
With portraiture, photography adopts a humanizing approach: allowing us to gaze deeper into the other and discover what connections lie beneath the surface. The objective is to move away from notions of pity and disempowerment and to portray courage, honesty, beauty and strength.
In 2013, conflict broke out in South Sudan, leading to a complex and dangerous situation of armed conflict, economic decline, disease and hunger. With thousands of new arrivals fleeing to Uganda every day, South Sudan is now Africa’s largest refugee crisis. According to the Yale MacMilliian Center, “More than 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees have fled to neighboring countries in the region, around half of which are located in Uganda.”
Upon arrival, refugees receive a plot of land on which to build their new homes and grow crops. As refugees they are also free to access public services, such as access to clean water, food-aid, healthcare, and education. Uganda is one of the most welcoming countires in the world for refugees, according to the UNHCR. While many countries keep refugees in camps away from citizens, Uganda allows them to set up businesses, work for others, and move freely around the country.
It is commendable the generosity of Uganda for donating the land for the Imvepi Refugee Settlement. This gesture is an exceptional display of solidarity with people who have been forced to leave everything behind due to war and conflict.
Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa with 1,411,098 refugees & asylum seekers as of 29th Feb 2020 with the refugees in 13 districts of Adjumani, Arua, Moyo, Yumbe, Lamwo, Kiryandongo, Kyegeegwa, Kamwenge, Isingiro, Obongi, Koboko, Kikuube host refugees in 30 settlements plus 79,958 refugees in Kampala City.