Flowing Resilience: James Remo’s Journey

In 2016, amidst political turmoil in South Sudan, James Remo sought solace in Uganda’s Bidibidi refugee settlement. 

Now, eight years later, James still lives inside Bidi Bidi. His path crossed with Shelter Depot during a community gathering in his village. Shelter Depot, a hardware store in a refugee camp, creates access to life-changing goods and services.

Confronted with the harsh reality of water scarcity and inadequate storage facilities, James saw an opportunity to secure jerrycans for his family’s well-being. These simple containers held the promise of providing access to clean water, a basic necessity often taken for granted.

Image of jerry cans sold at Shelter Depot.
Image of jerrycans sold at Shelter Depot.

James eagerly joined Shelter Depot’s work-for-credit program, aiding our reforestation project by planting tree seedlings. In return for his hard work, James earned three essential 20-liter jerrycans.

Reflecting on his journey, James likened Shelter Depot to a wellspring of opportunity, providing access to essential resources that would have otherwise been beyond reach. “Because of Shelter Depot,” he remarked, “vulnerable people like me can access household and construction materials. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to buy three jerrycans with cash because I do not have the money.”

James Remo narrating his story to a Shelter Depot team member during a home visit.
During a home visit, James Remo shared his story with a Shelter Depot team member.

James’s story exemplifies how empowering refugees to solve their own shelter problems is the good work ahead.

Every Shelter is building a sustainable ecosystem that recognizes the agency and resilience of refugees. The journey toward a true sense of home is multifaceted, encompassing aspects beyond physical shelter. By addressing social integration, economic engagement, and built environment innovation, Every Shelter aims to unlock the potential within each refugee, allowing refugees like James to rebuild their lives with dignity and hope. 

Photography by Salome Mosher and Joseph Otika

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