THE HIDDEN STRENGTH IN SARAH DOUTH UNLEASHED IN COVID-19
The story of a phenomenal refugee woman Sarah Douth (real name). Story by Onzia Teopista and Irene Dawa-CEPAD
It’s a bright Wednesday but the ground is so muddy because it rained the previous night. A four wheel car struggles to drive through this muddy road in Katiku one village Ocea zone Rhino camp settlement, but Sarah is determined to walk through the mad even if she risks losing are sandals in the mud.
By 11am on this bright Wednesday morning we arrive at Sarah’s home in Katiku one. Her eldest daughter says mum is gone that way dressed in her jacket with a book in her hands. So, we drive through the village in the direction the young girl told us for about 10 minutes and look we spot Sarah coming out of one of the homes.
Sarah is a very quiet woman in her early thirties who fled her home Country South Sudan and came to Rhino refugee settlement in Uganda in 2014. During the trainings, she would not talk unless you specifically asked her to talk. Actually all her colleagues thought she would not manage to work in her community as a volunteer because she was too quiet and reserved. We are all grossly wrong about Sarah’s personality and potential. CEPAD believes in unveiling hidden talents, there something about Sarah we wanted to see through giving here this huge responsibility. Surprisingly, Sarah even spoke to us in English that day yet we used to translate for her
Photo credit: Dawa I (2020) Sarah reporting about her daily sensitization activities to Taban Robert CEPAD’s field volunteer team leader. Katiku 1
Sarah moves from home to home talking to her community members about COVID-19, its cause/origin, how it is spread, the preventive measures, the signs and symptoms and what to do in case anyone presents with signs and symptoms. She talks to the community on the Government and UNHCR directives during COVID-19. In addition, she talks the people about the risks of GBV during the lock down and the need to report any cases for early management. One of the things she does in the homes is to install hand washing facilities using small jerry cans given by WFP so that the households can wash their hands frequently.
Sarah is a peace club member trained by CEPAD (Community Empowerment for Peace and Development) on Peace building and nonviolent conflict transformation in 2019. When Uganda registered its first case of covid-19 on 20th March 2020, Sarah was one of the peace club members chosen and trained in May 2020 on MoH messages on Covid-19 and UNHCR/CEPAD GBV prevention and reporting.
Sarah walks home to home reaching all the households in Katiku one village disregarding the risks involved and the fact that she is not paid for all her work. As a woman she still has to attend her family and do all the house chores besides working in the community but she is more than determined to serve her people during this COVID-19 crisis and make a difference in her community
Sarah derives her energy from the fact that the community members listen to her teachings and are keen to follow the guidelines, but more so the people have become friendlier. She says she is proud of herself and feels more confident that she can do more