The market was bustling and the sun was shining overhead when Selena Konga came to receive her first loan—the very first Seed Effect microloan. It was November 2009, almost five years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had been signed, marking an end to decades of Civil War in South Sudan. Just a few years earlier, Selena, like millions of other South Sudanese, had been a refugee. She had recently repatriated with only a tarp and a sack of grain.
But on that morning, she was empowered.
We launched Seed Effect in South Sudan during a season of peace – albeit fragile peace. Refugees resettled, sought economic opportunity, and began to rebuild their lives. Their businesses grew, the markets swelled, and so many South Sudanese went from surviving to thriving.
And then war came. Again. And now millions of South Sudanese have been displaced. Again.
60 Minutes highlighted the growing crisis for those who are internally displaced. They reported that “5 million South Sudanese don’t know where their next meal is coming from and 100,000 people are currently facing death from the effects of starvation”. Additional reports depict the growing refugee crisis, stating that “Uganda is at a breaking point as South Sudanese refugees pour in“.
Refugee. Resettled. Refugee. Resettled. Refugee.
As we’ve waded into the refugee crisis in South Sudan alongside our team and clients, we’ve wrestled with the question, what do refugees really need?
We’ve learned that the situation is much more complex and dynamic than we expected. We’ve learned that to love and care for refugees, we must first turn some of our assumptions upside down. Over the next few weeks, we want to unpack 3 Myths About Refugees, the first being that a refugee = emergency.
Read more on our blog about Myth #1 and why we want to serve the South Sudanese in a sustainable and lasting way.