‘An improved shelter restored my dignity’

Baatin* at his newly constructed shelter


Baatin* is a 59-year-old South Sudanese refugee living in Palabek settlement in Uganda’s Northern district of Lamwo since 2018.

Baatin narrowly escaped death in South Sudan, when his wife was killed in full view of the entire family. He was able to escape but lost his right leg to an explosive device. He also accuses the rebels of looting his business stock. 

“I came to Uganda empty-handed,” Baatin says, adding, Even the little money he had was forcefully taken away by the South Sudanese soldiers he met at the border as he fled.”

The worst was yet to befall the family, which was still traumatised by the gruesome incident that led to the death of Baatin’s wife.

 “I found out I am HIV positive, and life became harder that I gave out my children to foster parents within the settlements because I could not take care of them anymore,’’ laments the father of five.

Baatin* sitting infront of his old house before the support

“I was sleeping in a small dome-shaped shelter which was leaking, and I had no mosquito net or mattress,” he says. Although he accessed antiretroviral drugs from the health facilities within the settlements, the poor housing condition exposed his already weakened health to more infections and diseases like malaria. 

For two years, Baatin lived a hopeless life and solely depended on food rations from UNHCR until LWF came to his rescue.

In 2020, Baatin’s turning point came when he was shortlisted to benefit from shelter support provided to people with specific needs by LWF.

With funding from the United States Government Department of State, Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (PRM), LWF constructs decent semi-permanent shelters for vulnerable refugees like those living with disabilities and the elderly

“Two weeks after the verification period, LWF delivered construction materials in my small compound,” Baatin rejoices.

The shelter is built with clay bricks and soil with a cemented floor and a corrugated roof, one wooden door and a window.

“It is warm at night, cool during daytime and does not leak when it rains. I feel happy and proud of myself for being treated in a dignified way. I thank LWF for the great work,” Baatin adds.

With better shelter and proper adherence to medication, Baatin is optimistic that he will live a happy and longer life.