James, one of our group leaders in Palabek Gem, was born in rebel captivity after his mother was abducted by the LRA. He and his mother escaped when James was 7 years old. But before running away, he witnessed mass killings and was forced to mutilate human bodies. Yes, at age 7.
When he returned home, James was bullied by other kids who called him a “Latin Adwii” or “rebel child.” This was hurtful and disruptive. James dropped out of school, his mother died, and his uncle isolated and disowned him. Soon, a rejection that was once from only fellow children turned out to be a communal rejection as it became hard for him to live a normal civilian life within his community.
We met James two years ago as part of our projects to provide trauma support and livelihoods projects to facilitate trauma and economic recovery. During one of our counseling sessions, our trauma counselor noticed that James was sitting in isolation. He later requested to speak with him privately. During their one-on-one session, James broke down in tears and explained how he felt rejected by the world for having been born in rebel captivity, a choice he did not make.
Now 27, James is a proud GRG community mobilizer for the Diicwinyi group. He told us,
“Having attended the GRG counseling sessions, I now want to reconcile with whoever has wronged me. I can no longer live with the anger. I find joy in this group, and I am seen as a person of value because my group members elected me to become the community mobilizer.”
We need your help to continue to help people like James with livelihoods, trauma counseling, and community theater projects. The programs help restore their dignity and provide a source of income, and hundreds of young men and women have had similar experiences. Right now we are trying to hire a full-time counselor. With your support, we can do that.
Your support goes a long way. Our entire annual budget is only $50,000. All donations go directly to our projects in northern Uganda. We have a matching donor this year who has agreed to TRIPLE any donations made. Thank you so much.