Tuesday, 26 March 2013

My Girl's Project in Uganda

Imagine if in Oregon State (the size of Uganda), 25,000 children under the age of five died each year from preventable waterborne diseases... It would be an epidemic! Now, imagine if in Oregon, a rebel army abducted over 30,000 kids forcing them to be soldiers and sex slaves...

Imagine you were one of these kids.

Now that the twenty year war is over, a generation is left without parents, and trauma wounds too deep to understand. I've met these young people. They are resilient  compassionate, hopeful and determined... if only given the chance.

My project in Uganda focuses on a group of young females, all of whom were abducted and escaped. The aim is to begin by psycho-socially supporting them, and empowering them by sending them back in school. 

These girls stole my heart, and I hope they will impact yours too.

Alimo Joyce was shot in the leg during the war. The only family member she had after escaping captivity was her brother, who committed suicide shortly after. His wife disappeared one night taking everything they owned, and leaving Joyce alone and desperate. Though Joyce has had an incredibly hard life, she is still one of the kindest, and most genuine people I have ever met. Naturally shy, I have seen her confidence noticeably grow over just one year. Imagine what a lifetime of people believing in her could do.

"I don't know whether I am going to stay hungry or not. And I want to give thanks because you have brought us here, to a good secondary school in Uganda, and I thank God for that."

Limpe Grace is a strong, beautiful, and very capable young woman. In a letter she wrote me describing her life, she shared how her mother and father met in captivity, and that she was born in the bush of the War. During their time in the bush, her mother had three other children. In 2000, her father was killed, and a year later, her mother escaped-without Limpe Grace. After her mother left, Grace stayed in the bush for another two years before escaping and reuniting with her mother. “In that year, as a result of killing, looting, and doing other bad things, her mind got confused and she became a mad person. She doesn’t want to see her children around her, and keeps saying that she is going to kill us.”

"Auntie, my life was very hard. Even at our home there. Nobody is possible to help me. They just see me, ‘ah ahh let that girl just waste her time.’ Then I sit down and I think, how am I going to study? How am I going to stay in this world? Who is going to help me? Even I lose the hope. Maybe I am going to be poor until I die. So, my best thing is just to thank you.” 
During the insurgency, Brenda's father was killed by the rebels. Her mother was later infected 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 her young siblings. With all that she has been through, Brenda is the natural leader of the group. Confident without even realizing it, and always the one to speak when no one wants to, she has so much potential, and I keep envisioning her getting into politics or activism. 

“My life was hard. But now, I am looking forward to have a great future.”
Apiyo Scovia was left by her mother when she was only 2 weeks old. Her father, abducted by the rebels, never returned. When her mother finally did come home, she was very ill with HIV/AIDS and died soon after. 

"For me, when I sat for my primary leaving examination, I even lost hope that I’m not going to continue with my studies because nobody is there to help me."
Akii Sarah was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance army in 2000 from her village. After escaping, her father died of AIDS and her mother, too sick, couldn't care for her. Upon sending her to school, some people in her village have tried to poison her out of jealousy. This makes it even more crucial to keep her in school.

“Auntie, I think that no one can help me like you. I thank God so that he give you more and more life in this world.”


If you would like more information on this project, or if you are willing and able to donate, please contact me for more information.

Love, Jenna

1 comment:

  1. Jenna you are amazing & such a wonderful light. <3