(Today’s #10outof10 post is from Jessica Cotton and Fred Kakungulu, two of our staff serving the children in Uganda.)
Over the last 20 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has brought violence and turmoil to countries throughout central and eastern Africa. As a result, some of the continent’s most vulnerable inhabitants have been terrorized and over 2 million people have been internally displaced causing disruption in the family unit. This includes the country of Uganda.
The children we serve end up in the remand facilities for a number of different reasons and they all come from a variety of circumstances. Below are just two of the many stories of vulnerable children impacted by war.
One story tells of a child who came from a family of 5 children. Rebels came through their village, took their entire family and placed them in the house and set it on fire. This one child decided to jump through the window of the home and run away. The rebels tried to catch her, but they did not succeed.
After reaching a nearby police station, where she stayed a couple of weeks, a relative happened to come looking for her. She initially was brought to live with grandparents, but then the relative brought her to live with them in Kampala with a promise of sending her to school. It never happened. This precious girl was mistreated and ultimately put on the streets. She was later rounded up by police and taken to M2 (one of the prisons in Kampala) for care and protection. Our staff had the opportunity to counsel and minister to her and now she is being sponsored and in school.
Another story tells of a family who was displaced due to the war and moved to a town in the northern region of Uganda called Kitgum. The father was abusive and an alcoholic. One day he happened to return to home and have an argument with his wife and ultimately killed her. He was taken to prison and returned home only to pass away a month later.
Other relatives had taken in the 3 children, but mistreated and abused them so much that one of the girls ran away from home. She wandered the streets of Gulu and hitched a ride to Kampala and lived on the streets there until she was picked up by a certain woman that dropped her off at M2. This is where Sixty Feet staff had the opportunity to meet with her and ultimately get her out of the prison and sponsored. She is now in school.
These are just a few of the extremely difficult stories that our staff hears every time we encounter a child who has been brought to the facilities we serve in. Although the violence and conflict of war might have occurred years ago, the ripple effect has had a lasting and devastating effect which ultimately affects those who are the least equipped to withstand it.
Our prayer is that everyone affected by the devastation of war would find the hope and healing that is found in Jesus.care, children, displaced, LRA, protection, war