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Peter builds a chair for a refugee living in Uganda

Overcoming All Odds: One Refugee’s Story of Determination

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WRITTEN BY Esther Martinez

For the most vulnerable in our world, attending school and finding a stable job afterward can be seen as beating the odds. That’s because millions of children don’t have access to educational opportunities or families don’t have enough income to pay for school fees. These obstacles are hard enough to overcome for those living in extreme poverty.

They can be nearly insurmountable for refugees whose lives have been uprooted and threatened.

That’s why it’s so inspiring to hear about stories that supporters like you make possible, where refugee women and men overcome all odds despite their challenging circumstances.

Refugees like Peter, 29, from South Sudan.

A Life on the Move

Peter was born in South Sudan. However, being displaced from his home became a predominant occurrence as he grew up. He and his family first left the country in 1994 and settled in northern Uganda. Ten years later, they were driven from their home in Aliwara by Joseph Kony and the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army).

Despite the upheaval, Peter continued attending school. After completing primary school in 2008, he and his family returned home and lived in Juba, South Sudan, for a year. Sadly, war broke out again in the country in 2009. The family returned to northern Uganda.

Against all odds, Peter persevered in his studies. It was during this last relocation that he found a technical program at a nearby school and gained training as a carpenter. Food for the Hungry (FH) was providing long-term relief in his refugee settlement of Mungula. FH staff identified Peter as a skilled youth because of this training. 

Peter works on a piece of furniture at his carpentry shop in Uganda.Building a Brighter Future

Thanks to generous supporters, FH was able to provide Peter with carpentry tools to start his own business. He quickly set up his workshop and began making chairs, beds, and tables.

“I love my work because everyone, no matter who you are, needs chairs and beds, “ he said. “My skills will always be needed.”

Peter uses his income to help support his parents and siblings with basic needs such as school fees and medication. He was even able to open a small retail shop to supplement his earnings. He joined an FH savings group, where he has learned how to save money for the future.

Despite a childhood full of life-threatening disruptions, Peter never lost his determination. He was always eager to learn, work hard, and take advantage of opportunities you helped make possible. He is very grateful for FH’s support. He hopes to see that support extended to more youth in his community.

Thank you for helping refugees like Peter not only survive — but thrive!

Portrait of Peter in Uganda

Continue Reading:

Cambodia Grocery Co-op Creates Hope for Disabled

Carlos’ Story: How Child Sponsorship Pays It Forward

How One Sewing Machine Helped a Refugee Start Over


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