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Feeding 138,000 refugees: a day in the life of a World Vision worker

World Vision
23 June 2015 by Archie Haramis
Feeding 138,000 refugees: a day in the life of a World Vision worker

Andrew is passionate about the work he does, helping to feed thousands of South Sudanese refugees who have fled to Uganda. Photo by Ilana Rose, World Vision

Andrew Iraguha leads the World Vision team distributing food amongst more than 138,000 refugees from South Sudan who’ve fled to northern Uganda. I spoke to Andrew during a field trip to Uganda about the work involved in feeding so many people. He also reflects on the importance of donations to the Multiplying Gift Appeal, which help make this work possible.

“My typical day is very busy. I coordinate a number of activities. I make sure trucks are in place to distribute food to beneficiaries.

We move 1,200 metric tonnes of food in one month. World Vision works closely with the UN World Food Programme on the logistics side of things to ensure there is enough stock to meet these food needs.

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Refugees are crossing as a result of the conflict that is taking place back home in South Sudan. We have our staff at the border to meet them. Some refugees have travelled many kilometres on foot and are extremely weak. As they cross they are registered in coordination with the United Nations. We initially give them high-energy biscuits that have a lot of calories, to help them regain energy. Then they are put on trucks or buses to go to the transit centre.

Once they reach the transit centre, a partner agency prepares hot meals for them. They are generally in the transit centre for between two and four weeks while the Ugandan Government is negotiating to get land for them to settle on.

We are extremely grateful that the Government of Uganda is negotiating with local community members for land, which means the refugees are not in a camp enclosure. It means they get some land where they can actually stay and settle. After the refugees are relocated to their plot, World Vision staff ensure they are on the food distribution list for the following month.

When the beneficiary gets to his plot he can rebuild his home. Seeing people trying to put up rudimentary shelter can be very emotional. Sometimes you ask yourself, what if it was you. You spend your entire life trying to make a home and here you’ve been displaced.

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For me as a representative of World Vision, I really have to thank our donors. We are extremely grateful. You may not think you are having a lot of impact, but it’s life-saving. The support that we get from donors is creating a huge difference for these people. If you get closer to one or two of these people then you will get to see the value of what you are giving them. Just imagine, some of them crossing from South Sudan. They come running, they don’t have anything in their pockets. They are absolutely stuck.

It’s very difficult and sometimes you look at the work you are doing and say thank God that we are touching somebody’s life.

We work so closely with the community members and the refugee representatives and we try to ensure that we put heart into the food that we give.”

Archie Haramis

Archie is the Creative Director for World Vision Australia.

 

5 Responses

  • ayrshireman says:

    apparently according to your online chat volunteers the girl Kema was being sold into marriage by her family, why aren’t you using your influence to have them prosecuted. Another of your volunteers hadn’t even heard of her and they seemed to differ in the country where she lived. I do think you need to stop interfering in these countries, it is irresponsible to project our values onto them, they have their own culture and if selling their daughters is part of that culture who are we to judge them by our own standards?

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hello ayrshireman, first you say ‘prosecute Kema’s family’, then you say ‘who are we to judge’. I am a little confused as to what you are trying to say. In any case, I must let you know that early marriage cuts across different cultures, religion and countries and ethnicities. Once married, girls experience intense pressure to bear children as soon as possible, and the consequences for maternal and child health are serious. Early marriage often condemns girls to a life of chronic poverty and social isolation. They are more likely to experience domestic violence, abuse and forced sex. Some girls see their outlook as so bleak that they try to run away from their husband, or even attempt suicide.
      World Vision invests in girls by promoting their education and raising awareness about the dangers of early marriage. We know that working together with families, communities and governments can reverse the global trend of forced and early marriage. We work with families to educate parents on treating girls and boys equally. We help strengthen local child protection groups to alert, monitor and respond to cases of early marriage. And we help local authorities to improve laws and policies to reduce cases of forced and early marriage.

      • ayrshireman says:

        If you are going to interfere why don’t you do something worthwhile and stop parents from selling their kids, but even better why don’t you let the government in the country take care of this, after all the more you do the less they will do themselves, they have a piece of land which is as productive as any in the western world and yet they live in poverty because of their selfish culture which stops them working together for the common good, leaders become more and more rich whilst their countrymen become ever more poor. They have every bit as much opportunity as the first settlers in australia or the people in any developed country has but they will never achieve anything as they chose to fund a wealthy lifestyle for the few rather than build schools and hospitals for the many, your aid is exacerbating this, i’ve seen it with my own eyes. And your adverts on tv are fraudulently using people and circumstances who don’t actually exist. The leaders in these countries are playing aid organisations like yours for fools, and you are playing the public for fools, there is nothing poor about african countries, only mis-management, Laziness, incompetence, nepotism, and corruption. They think people in western countries are lucky, the development we have seen in australia over the last hundred years didn’t come about by people sitting on their backsides waiting on handouts so i’m not sure luck had anything to do with it, and importantly what you see around you when you look out of your window could be built anywhere in the world if the people who live there are willing to roll up their sleeves and get on with it, but they won’t whilst organisations like yours treat them like they are the victims of some worldwide plot against them. You need to take a big hot mug of reality.

  • Audrey says:

    Keep up the invaluable work and ignore the negative criticism. This comes about as critics are convicted of the injustices but refuse to act to stop them. I was born in Bangladesh so I know that what you advocate on behalf of the children is very real.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Audrey, thank you for your message and encouragement !! Really appreciate you taking the time to do this. 🙂

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