You’re viewing a version of this story optimized for slow connections. To see the full story click here.

No Time For Grief

Story by Nothing But Nets April 1st, 2015

When Masango Djuma arrived at Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, he thought his wife and six children had finally found refuge from the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But his life was about to be tested in ways he could never imagine.

Shortly after arriving at Nakivale in 2007, Masango’s wife left him, forcing him to put aside his grief and care for his children. Today, he is still alone and has help from his 15-year-old daughter to care for his family. Unfortunately, she had to leave school at an early age to help care for her younger brothers and sisters, while Masango worked to provide for the family.

There were more than 63,000 cases of malaria at Nakivale Refugee Settlement last year.

We met Masango at one of the four health clinics at Nakivale – he came down with malaria two weeks ago and despite treatment, still suffers. He has returned today to see what more doctors can do to help him recover. His family is so dependent on him to provide that he cannot afford to be sick for long.

His family does not have bednets at home, and it’s only a matter of time before his children could become sick with malaria too.

“I’m very worried, especially for my children,” he said. “I hope I will receive bednets soon. The area where I was living in the Congo was not affected by malaria, but since I came to Nakivale I got sick many times.”

There are 11 nationalities represented at Nakivale Refugee Settlement – but close to half have fled violence in the DRC.

Last year, there were more than 63,000 cases of malaria at Nakivale – that’s an astounding number for a population of 74,000. Here, malaria is the number one cause of illness and death among children under five. And it is estimated that approximately 45% of households do not yet have access to a bednet. After all these families have been through, the last thing they should have to worry about is their child dying from a mosquito bite.

Masango knows if his family is protected from malaria, he’ll be able to work more and provide for them.

“My dream would be to receive a bigger plot of land to cultivate and become a farmer,” he said.

The Nothing But Nets campaign is committed to protecting refugee families like Masango’s so they can recover, be healthy, and thrive. We have pledged to raise funds for one million bednets by the end of 2016. You can help us save lives. Learn more and take the pledge.

Inspired by Masango’s story? Share it here.

Many refugees at Nakivale Refugee Settlement are crop or dairy farmers.
Footnote: Photo credits: Corentin Fohlen/Nothing But Nets
Nakivale, Katete Road, Mbarara, Western Region, Uganda
Support Refugees