Janet’s Story

Self Help AfricaStories

“I didn’t know where I was going, I was just following the crowd. I fled on my own. To this day, I don’t know if my father is still alive or not.”

It’s been almost 25 years since Janet has been home. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Janet fled her village when she was just a small girl. At the height of the ethnic conflicts in the country, soldiers attacked her village, killing her mother.

After years of living a nomadic life, Janet finally arrived in Zambia and settled in Meheba, a UNHCR-run refugee camp. She’s since married and had four children, but has never been able to return home to DRC.

In 2019, Janet started working with Self Help Africa and the UNHCR as part of a farmer graduation project in Meheba camp. The project aims to train 300 refugee families like Janet’s to become self-sufficient farmers. Each participating household is assigned a plot of land and is provided with agricultural training, as well as seeds, equipment and livestock.

There she received training, seeds, livestock and a small plot of land which she has used to rear goats and subsequently set up a successful food stall. 

“I use my income to buy food for my family. Two of my children are going to school. It makes me happy, because I never had the chance to go to school myself. I hope they will be able to continue their studies, so they can get good jobs.”

Learn more about Self Help Africa’s work with women farmers here.