The war of Northern Uganda lasted for twenty years with little to no international assistance. An unthinkable amount of children were abducted to become child soldiers and sex slaves. Though the war ended just over five years ago, rebuilding is in its’ beginning stages, and much healing is needed.
In a country where half the population is under the age of 18, my focus will be with the youth-primarily the girls.
Culturally-and generally, education for girls is not as much of a priority as it is for boys. Girls, particularly in the villages, are expected to marry and produce at an early age-not leaving much room for alternative opportunities.
Primary school is affordable, so many girls go to primary school, but their education ends there. It is at this vital age wthat many of them become pregnant. Secondary school is generally too expensive to even consider, and like I mentioned before, many families and communities refuse to see the need.
Thus, this is where my work will begin.
I have connected with a school that provides free education to war-affected children, who have either returned from captivity or who were born in the bush. The school is only a primary level school, so many of these children-who crave education, repeat primary school over and over.
I want to find sponsors to send these girls to secondary school. The term begins at the end of this month, and I have identified six girls who are in the most need.
These are their stories:
Akii Sarah was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance army in 2000 from her village. She escaped from captivity after three months and returned home in the same year of abduction. Sarah lost her mother to HIV/AIDS and her father has been very sick and can hardly care for them. She was later enrolled in the School of War Affected Children where she has completed primary seven level. Sarah is now seeking assistance so that she can continue with her secondary education.
Alimo Joyce was abducted and shot in the leg, causing disability. Joyce had remained with her only brother who was her only support until he recently committed suicide. She was left with the brother’s wife, who one night collected all the household utensils and some of Joyce’s belongings and disappeared. Joyce has always been forced by her extended family to get married but has refused, and now has limited support from her family. She lives alone and has no one to support her. Joyce is one of our critical cases.
Apiyo Scovia was left by her mother when she was only 2 weeks old. Her father whom she remained with was also abducted by the rebels and has never returned. When her mother finally returned, she was very ill with HIV/AIDS and died soon after, leaving Scovia only with her grandmother who was too old to care for her. Later, Scovia was enrolled in the School for War Affected Children and has completed primary level seven. Because of lack of fees, Scovia had to go back to repeat primary seven to keep her busy and to avoid early marriage. Scovia now needs support and care for better future.
When Aciro Melissa's father divorced her mother for having extra marital affairs, where she produced the rest of Melissa's siblings, he rejected her too, and disappeared. She has been left in the care of her grandmother who has been struggling with payments and is too old to cater to Melissa's basic needs. She is seeking support for her secondary education.
Atimango Brenda's father was killed by the rebels during the insurgency. Her mother later found another man who infected her with HIV/AIDS, but didn't realize her condition until it was too late. When she died, Brenda was left with her grandmother who is now too old to care for her, and does not have the means to support her school fees. She has completed her primary education at the School for War Affected Children, but needs financial support to continue.
Limpe Grace was born in the bush when her parents who were formerly abducted met. On their way to "Teso", her father was shot dead. Her mother returned home with her, but also died in 2000, only a year after her father's death. Grace was then enrolled in the School for War Affected Children. She has completed her primary levels, but has no one to support her in continuing her education.
I am connected to these girls personally, and am developing a mentorship aspect to this project that would provide them with trainings that would focus on assertiveness and life skills, business development, sexual health and education, and of course, trauma healing.
It costs roughly $1,000 to send a girl to secondary for a year. This amount would pay for their classes, books, materials, uniforms, food, living and medical expenses.
However, I know that is a lot of money, especially during these times. So, we are aiming at finding 100 people to donate $10 or more.
If you are interested in sponsoring, donations can be made through PayPal - firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much in advance.