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Kristin Davis gets to know Fiona. #WorldRefugeeDay: Tailor. Farmer. Niece.

UNHCR High Profile Supporter Kristin Davis spends time with Fiona Taba (18) a South Sudanese refugee who's become a tailor and a fashion designer. Fiona also cultivates a plot of land that was donated by the Ugandan Governmnet at the Rhino Base camps settlement.

UNHCR High Profile Supporter Kristin Davis spends time with Fiona Taba (18) a South Sudanese refugee who’s become a tailor and a fashion designer. Fiona also cultivates a plot of land that was donated by the Ugandan Governmnet at the Rhino Base camps settlement.
© UNHCR

Actress Kristin Davis travelled with UNHCR to Uganda to meet refugees from South Sudan.  She travelled to Rhino Base Camp settlement, Nguara in northern Uganda.

Kristin met Fiona Taba, an 18 year-old woman who is a talented tailor and dreams of being a fashion designer.

After arriving in Uganda as a refugee UNHCR gave a small grant to Fiona so she could train to become a tailor. At the end of the training she was given her own sewing machine and a small business loan. Fiona went into the markets and bought second hand clothes that she repaired and modified and sold but she says that making new outfits and designing new clothes is more lucrative. Fiona has very funky blue and yellow hair and loves colour, fashion and fabrics. She has a huge board of dress ideas and enjoys designing new styles for her customers, “I love bright colours and looking at fashion magazines to get ideas” said Fiona.

Fiona overcame many hurdles to achieve her goal. When she was 15 her parents were killed in front of her. Her auntie had found her and together they fled from South Sudan to Uganda. “We hid in bushes, ate grass and travelled to the border together. It took us a month to find safety.”  Fiona and her aunt were eventually given a plot of land in the Nguara area. The Ugandan government provides refugees with small pieces of land to build their houses and to plant crops. Refugees are also able to work and move freely in the country.

Fiona says she would love to go home but she knows it is not safe and she worries she has forgotten many things about South Sudan. In the future, she wants to build her business and would love to return to school to study fashion and design.