A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa
example, some formerly abducted young mothers have started getting together spontaneously to form groups for the purpose of carrying out income-generating projects as a way of surviving. In addition to income-generating activities, the girls have also been active in drama and songs; a sign of resilience and creativity amidst the high poverty levels in the camps.
One such group, Empowering Hands, was formed by young mothers in 2003 and has worked in a number of camps to ensure that returnee girl mothers are accepted and supported by the community. This has been undertaken through counselling for the child mothers and community discussion forums to break through the stigma.
3 Selected Testimonies
Doreen grew up in Gulu district at a parish called Unyama in the village of Awich. She grew up with both parents but lost her father when she was 11 years of age. Her father had two wives, her mother being the 1st wife. She studied in Kitgum district from primary one to senior three before she was abducted. She is married to a farmer who is also struggling for survival, this makes her current situation very challenging as she has to take care of her child. She is quite happy because she has just completed her salon training in December 2006.
I was abducted from my home area – Unyama - at around 5.00 a.m. in the morning. We were four from the same home, but altogether there were 40 newly abducted. We walked for almost 30 miles without rest. We reached a certain village that I cannot name today and it was there that they put a lot of us, men and women, into a very small hut. When they realised that the house was too squeezed, they decided to separate the women from the men.
As soon as we were separated from the men, the rebels started coming to our room and touching all the women. If they found that you were still a girl they would tell you to get up and follow them. Once outside, they asked whether the girls were married yet. If you said yes they then asked if you were ready to accept whatever they were going to do to you. In that situation no-one could say no, because we were scared and full of fear. That day they raped almost all of the girls including myself. They slept with us the whole night. The next day some of the girls were not in a position to walk, but for fear of their lives we had to.
We started the journey the next day, but we were too hungry, because we were not
Not her real name.