The DANIDA Graduation project led by the Danish Refugee Council in partnership with Trickle Up and CEFORD is a pilot project to build self-reliance and resilience in the Imvepi Refugee Settlement.
Since 2013, the South Sudanese Civil War has displaced over 4 million people.
Most face extreme poverty and uncertain futures.
Jane’s story as a refugee begins in South Sudan, where escalating violence in 2016 forced her family to flee to Uganda with little preparation.
Arriving in Uganda at the age of 16, Jane faced the many challenges of life as a refugee.
With limited resources and food rations that barely sustained her family, she took it upon herself to earn money for her family. Jane first worked at a local restaurant in the evenings to earn a modest wage. This daily income helped her family meet their basic needs and allowed her to purchase essential school supplies for herself and her younger brother.
But working at such a young age exposed Jane to many risks, and at only 17, Jane had an unexpected pregnancy. Despite the new changes to her life, Jane remained resilient.
With the support of her aunt, who helped care for her baby, Jane returned to school. However, the demanding circumstances of living in poverty and the increased responsibilities of childcare made it difficult for Jane to concentrate on her studies.
Eventually, she was forced to drop out of school again and seek employment to sustain herself and her family.
When Jane learned of the DANIDA Graduation Project, she applied to work as a coach and went through a rigorous selection process. She was successful. This project — a joint effort by the Danish Refugee Council, CEFORD, and Trickle Up — opened the door for Jane to find stability and the means to provide for herself and her family. She began acquiring assets and gaining financial independence, paving the way for a brighter future.
In August 2022, Trickle Up also trained Jane in essential life skills. This training equipped her and other coaches with the key interpersonal skills to become agents of positive change within their community. Jane’s coaching draws from her own experiences. She is passionate about supporting other vulnerable women, having lived many of their experiences firsthand.
Jane firmly believes that the DANIDA Graduation Project is restoring a sense of dignity and optimism among refugees and the host community in Imvepi. Working with women like Susan Amani and being a role model for agency and self-reliance has been transformative, and Jane continues to learn and grow in her own role as a coach.