“Being in the support group has helped me with my stress and trauma”
Twelve-year-old Murathwa Maombi didn’t feel safe anywhere. She didn’t feel she belonged. She didn’t feel at home.
Maombi was with her family when a group of rebels raided their house in the DR Congo. Maombi watched as they killed her father. In terror she grabbed her little sister and fled outside to hide in the garden. Still in the house, her mother was attacked and raped by the rebels.
Now widowed, pregnant and living in constant fear, her mother decided to leave with her children and settle in Mukondo C Village, a refugee camp in neighbouring Uganda. She only hoped for safety and a better life, but with three children and no means of making an income, it would be a struggle.
Maombi began attending a children’s program operated by Humanitarian Coalition member Save the Children in Mukondo, designed to provide extra support for children in crisis situations. But Maombi sat in a corner, cried often, and refused to speak to any male leaders. When the other children in her community starting taunting her, saying that her mother’s baby was the son of the rebels, she dropped out of school and stopped attending the children’s program.
Maombi had no place where she felt safe.
But because of the generosity of our supporters and partners, Maombi’s life was transformed.
Workers from the children’s program discovered the reasons behind Maombi’s absence and rallied around her family, spent time listening to her, and encouraged her to get involved in a peer support group. They bought her the school supplies she needed so it was easier for her to return to classes. They talked to the other kids in the children’s program about discrimination and bullying and the importance of treating others with kindness.
“Being in the support group has helped me with my stress and trauma,” she says. “I’m not afraid to talk anymore.” Back at the children’s program with her brother and sister, she interacts with young people her own age, and motivates the younger children to get involved and participate more. From stress and anxiety she has found safety and belonging. “This,” she says, “is my safe place.”
Maombi has come home.