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'How can I provide for my children?'

Evelyn, 36 and daughter Patricia, 7. Photo: Gary Moore.

"He came to our house and pulled a matchstick from his pocket. He took some grass, lit it and set fire to our house."

Evelyn (36) from the Gulu District in northern Uganda describes the night in 2015 when the uncle of her late husband tried to burn her and her young family out of their home.

When her husband died in 2011, Evelyn lost more than her life partner: she lost her security. Relatives of her deceased husband claimed that the land she lived on was rightfully theirs. 

Around the world, millions of women like Evelyn are denied the right to land. If their husband’s die, they are left with nothing and no way to feed or care for their children.

With her husband’s relatives seizing control of her land, Evelyn was soon left with only a quarter acre of land. It is not enough to feed her children.

"When we have run out of food, I go to work in other people’s gardens for money," she says.

 

Patricia's smile

When asked to describe her children Evelyn’s face lights up. There is Ajok Flavia (17), Acayo Barbara (15), Onenecan Ivan (13), Opio Ronny (9) and Patricia (7). 

Patricia's shy smile features on this year's Trócaire box. 

"When you talk to Patricia, she bends the head and the neck," says Evelyn. "That is her, she is shy and quiet."

It is a happy family, filled with children's laughing and playing, but Evelyn lives in a constant state of worry. 

"I worry now because I do not have land and my children are growing," she says. "When they grow up into adults, where am I going to take them? That is my worry.

“My husband was not a rich man but at least we had piece of mind. We had the house. Life was better. He was responsible for all the fees, school fees, and medical fees. He was a good father who loved his children and loved people.”

 

How you get help this Lent

With your support, Trócaire is helping Patricia and her family, as well as hundreds more like them, receive legal access to land.

We are working with communities across northern Uganda to strengthen the rights of women to land and to ensure widows and their families are not left open to land grab when their husband's die. 

Please support Patricia and her family this Lent. 

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Your love can conquer fear for families in need worldwide

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