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    Helping elderly women up off the ground

    DAY 16

    A Soft Place to Sleep

    You might not know much about Bidi Bidi refugee settlement or the refugees who have sought safety there. But you can imagine the sort of challenges that arise when a place goes from Population Zero to Population 270,000 in just a few short months. Bidi Bidi is growing so quickly, in fact, that sometimes there are simply not even enough places to sleep.

    One of ARC’s most important jobs in Bidi Bidi is to seek out the most vulnerable individuals in the settlement, find out what they need, and provide it. In fact, finding these individuals is the sole job of a team of 25 Ugandan volunteers. With thousands of refugees arriving every day, it can be overwhelming for this dedicated team of volunteers to keep up.


    Today we’re doing the doable to help a specific group of vulnerable individuals the team has found – elderly women living on their own in the settlement. We’re lifting them off the dirt floor of their makeshift homes in Bidi Bidi, so they have a safe and comfortable place to sit, rest and sleep.

    A simple mattress can make a huge difference.

    Take Jonette. She’s blind and walks with a cane these days. She spends most of the days in the shade of her tarpaulin shelter, sitting on a reed mat, feeling the heat rise in the morning and fall in the afternoon.


    When Doreen, ARC’s Community Services Volunteer walked up with a mattress, Jonette couldn’t stop laughing. “I’m happy!” she said. “Every night sleeping on this mat I am paining. My hip. My back. Everything. I am happy. I will pray for you.” She grabbed the side of the striped mattress, squeezing it with her hand.

    Elizabeth is 95 years old. She made it to Bidi Bidi without her family. It was the help of her neighbor that brought her to safety. Now, as she faces her last years, it is hard to find comfort.


    As the ARC team delivered the mattress to Elizabeth, people from the neighboring shelters came out to see what was happening. They were smiling, taking her hands in theirs, pointing to the mattress. “We are happy to care for her,” one woman said.

    For less than $500, the team bought 14 mattresses to help women like Jonette and Elizabeth. They can’t wait to do more.

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

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