Sitting under a mango tree at ChildVoice’s Lukome Center in northern Uganda, I listened to the stories told by ChildVoice counselors. One colleague told a sad war story which, much to my surprise, evoked many laughs. He must have noted my apparent confusion at the incongruous reaction and explained, “If we mourned all of those who died, we would die of sadness. Instead we laugh and tell their stories. This is how we honor them. It’s how we survive.”
By Presidential Proclamation, January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, meant to shed light on the signs and consequences of this global tragedy. We at ChildVoice are all too familiar with the atrocities and abuses committed against young, vulnerable children who have been kidnapped or coerced into sexual slavery and forced labor. Here is the story of one such young South Sudanese girl, now at the Lukome Center, who was rescued from a childhood of prostitution.
For those of us in the United States, it’s totally unimaginable what the girls currently living at the Lukome Center have been through. And 17-year-old Keji, from the war-torn country of South Sudan, is no exception.
In 2011, the UN declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girls’ rights and to highlight the challenges that girls face around the world.
At ChildVoice, we have worked for the last 10 years to provide educational opportunities for war-affected girls.
As we enter 2016, we are pleased to be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. Since 2006, ChildVoice has been providing war-affected girls with an opportunity to rebuild their lives in northern Uganda. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our donors.
Last week we announced the upcoming publication of Enduring the Night: Courageous Stories of Survival by Former Girl Soldiers. This book, compiled and edited by former ChildVoice interns, features the stories of several Lukome Centre graduates who were abducted as children by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Please join us and participate in an upcoming ChildVoice’s Walk a Mile in Their Shoes fundraiser in your community!
ChildVoice students will travel to Gulu to participate in a community celebration of International Women’s Day 2014.
ChildVoice’s lead counselor, Winnie Acayo and five of our Lukome Center girls (three current students and two successful graduates) met this week with the Parliament of Uganda.