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Mingkaman-Awerial-Lakes State -Dio Nial Gai makes a living from selling tea at the busy and bustling Mingkaman town. Originally from Jonglei State, Nial was displaced by the 2013 war. She had to flee across the river to the neighboring Awerial-Mingkaman Lakes State to seek refuge. The journey was not easy. Along the way, she was shot in the arm and developed complications. She had to be taken to Bor and later to Juba, to treat these complications and her right arm had to be amputated to save her life. Having lost an arm made her already difficult life, much more complex. According to her, this incident also marked a turning point for her life.

Dio with her peers singing and dancing at the WGFS constructed by IMA with support from UNFPA with funding from European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)


I lost my father in the war; lost an arm; but my mother is alive. Life has not been easy, but thank God I am alive” she said.

 Dio, the firstborn in a family of three is the sole breadwinner. A teacher by profession earned her SSP 10,000 about $ 9 a month, not even sufficient to feed her family. To top it, she had her paternal uncle’s children also dependent on her, making it even more difficult to make ends meet.

It is during that period that a golden opportunity knocked. Inter-Church Medical Assistance (IMA) with support from UNFPA and funding from ECHO announced a call to train women in different income-generating activities such as tailoring, saloon, bead making, and tea making at the Women Girls Friendly Space. Dio seized the opportunity and enrolled. Together with a group of  200 women and girls, she underwent one-year intensive training and graduated last year. IMA provided each group with start-up capital (constructed shelter, bought furniture, and all other necessary requirements for the business). At the women and girls friendly space, Dio said she got information and support, participated in activities, networked and strengthened relationships with her peers.