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Ugandan family featured on 2019 Trócaire box get back on their land

24 June 2020

Success! Thanks to your support, Trócaire have been able to get Patricia’s family in Uganda back on their land. While the threat of COVID-19 now looms in Uganda, Patricia is safe and well and the family’s fortunes are looking up.

Last year, Patricia featured on the 2019 Trócaire box. Photo : Gary Moore

She’s a little bit taller than when she featured on the 2019 Trócaire box, but more dramatic changes have happened in Patricia’s life in the last year.

8 year old Patricia featured on the 2019 Trócaire Box as part of our campaign focusing on land grabs. We highlighted how Patricia’s family were at risk of losing their home, simply because Patricia’s mother, Evelyn, was a woman.

Around the world, millions of women like Evelyn are denied their rights to their land and they struggle to provide for their families as a result.

In Uganda, it can be difficult for a woman to continue to own her land following the death of a husband. This is what happened to Evelyn, when she tragically lost her husband. After his death, a violent land dispute happened between her and the family of her late husband.

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

Patricia is like many other widows in Uganda who lose their land after their husbands pass away. Photo : Gary Moore.

I was stranded and did not know where to start from

Trócaire has supported Evelyn’s case to fight for the right to her land. Our local partner, ARLPI, worked with local leaders. It wasn’t easy in a country with very traditional attitudes and traditions around women owning land, but ultimately the project was a success. As a result, six acres of land were returned to Evelyn in the last year.

Delighted with this successful outcome, Evelyn says: “I am happy because the land was returned to me and I know myself and my children will use it to grow food.

“Before Trócaire and ARLPI, I was stranded and did not know where to start from. I felt comforted and energised to start fighting for my land.”

Evelyn is also being supported to develop a small business to help her provide an income for her family. A small shelter has been constructed to house two cows. Enough milk is produced for both her family and to sell for money to buy necessities like soap and salt.

Patricia and Evelyn in February 2020, after their land was returned to them. Photo : Trócaire.

The threat of Covid-19 in Uganda

There are over 750 confirmed cases of Covid-19 now in Uganda. Testing capabilities are limited, and it is feared that the real number of positive cases is far higher.

While Covid-19 is present in the Gulu region in northern Uganda, thankfully no cases have yet been reported in the community where Patrica and Evelyn’s family live.

Patricia entered third class in school last February, with Trócaire providing support for school fees and books. Yet she and her siblings have been helping with house and farm work since schools closed in March due to the pandemic.

Evelyn said: “It used to be a challenge for me to raise money for these things. I could raise little by little, but sometimes it still was not enough and my children used to be sent back home from school. Trócaire and ARLPI rescued me. It’s a fortune for my entire life.”

Evelyn is praying that the people of Ireland are safe during the pandemic. Speaking to Trócaire staff recently, she said: “I pray that God protects them and their families during this Coronavirus pandemic”.

Patricia was one of 46,000 Ugandans to receive direct support last year from Trócaire thanks to your generous donations.

How to return your Trócaire box donation

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, people have been unable to return their Trócaire boxes. Schools and parishes are closed, leaving tens of thousands of Trócaire boxes sitting in homes all over Ireland.

Unless we receive the donations from those boxes we won’t be able to carry out our life-saving work with families like Patricia’s. Our programmes will be under-funded. Some will have to close for good. This will be devastating for people who rely on our programmes for their daily survival.

That is why we are urgently appealing for your Trócaire box donation.

Please count or estimate what is in your box and donate today.

You can donate online or by phoning:
1850 408 408 (Republic of Ireland)
0800 912 1200 (Northern Ireland).

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