26th August 2020

From the Newsdesk of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Mama Salome receives refugees from across the Sudanese border and sends them on to the Camp at Bidi-Bidi in Uganda. When a young single mother came with her baby, Mama Salome’s gentle questioning revealed that she had been raped in her home village, had become pregnant and been rejected by her family so she fled.

After promising help, Mama Salome asked her: “Do you love your baby?” but the girl looked down at the ground and did not answer. Mama Salome then asked: “If you could leave your baby with me, would you do so?” and the girl nodded. But Mama Salome said firmly “You will love your baby – you have to, or your child will never be able to receive love”. Sending the girl on her way to the refugee camp, she pointed to some girls playing netball nearby. “Go over to them,” she said, “let one of the older women look after your baby and go and play with the girls for a while”.

What kindness, what wisdom! Giving this shame-ridden young mother acceptance and understanding, a chance to put down this child, unwelcome burden, and join young people of her own age in a carefree game. This would be for her a small first step to beginning to live again and to hope!

This happened before Coronavirus closed the border between Southern Sudan and Uganda last March, so hopefully this girl is now learning to love her growing child in a safe and welcoming environment.

Lesley Fuller