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Refugee child left to raise her siblings

Refugee child left to raise her siblings

Nadia (15, centre) and her siblings in Odupi, Uganda

Nadia dreams of going to school but instead, she’s raising her five siblings.

At just 15, Nadia has seen more hardship and carries more responsibility than most adults will in their lifetime. Nadia fled South Sudan with her mother and five siblings after her father was killed in the conflict. They left everything behind and crossed the border into Uganda, searching for refuge and safety.

But hardship continued to follow the family. Nadia’s mother struggled to find shelter and enough food for her children. She eventually remarried and had another baby, but it was a violent relationship. Tragically, Nadia’s mother passed away in the refugee settlement.

Nadia became responsible for her five siblings, including her baby brother Friday who was just 1 month old at the time.

“When our mother died, we were left alone, not knowing where to go,” she says. "We can’t access food easily like other refugees.”

Just a child herself, Nadia has no way to feed her family and knows little about raising a baby. She doesn’t have enough money to buy him milk. All the children only eat once a day.

Right now, Nadia and her siblings are relying on the kindness of Jessica, their elderly neighbour in the refugee settlement, to survive.

“I thank God for mama Jessica. Even though she is old, at least we are safe with her. My older siblings can now go to school. But not me. I have to miss school to take care of the younger ones and the baby.”

Nadia dreams of going to school and being able to take care of her brothers and sisters.

“I want to complete my studies, get a job and look after my siblings. I want to be a health worker one day, so I can help other people in need. I really want to see baby Friday grow up healthy,” she says.

Thank you for showing so much love and care to children like Nadia and her siblings who have suffered so much. Your kindness will help children in Odupi to get a good education, build peace in their community and teach children and adults about child rights, to help keep kids safe from violence and child marriage. With you by their side, children like Nadia can build a brighter future.