Anna and her daughter
Kitgum Concerned Women’s Association (KICWA) was formed in 1998 by a group of women volunteers who were concerned about the plight of formerly abducted children from Kitgum District in northern Uganda. As the number of children returning from captivity has decreased due to the on-going peace process, KICWA is now focusing on the resettlement needs of these children and communities that have been displaced by the conflict. Anna is one of almost 4,000 children rehabilitated by KICWA.
In January 1999, Anna, aged 11, was abducted by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). Anna spent a large part of her childhood in captivity, during which she was forced to carry out domestic duties as well taking part in armed conflict. Once she reached puberty, she was forced to become a wife of a rebel commander and fell pregnant. In March 2006, after spending seven years in captivity, Anna and her baby girl were rescued by government troops. With KICWA’s support and ongoing follow-up, Anna has been successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated into her former community.
“During the reunification process, I received a warm welcome from my community through a traditional cleansing ceremony. I lived with my uncle and my grandmother for a year and got married to my lovely husband. My marriage was out of my own choice since I had cherished to be married to a caring husband. In my marriage I was blessed with a baby girl who became very close to my other child that I had while in captivity. The most amazing thing is that my husband loves all these children equally, which has really contributed to my readjustment to community life. I have now forgotten of all the bad memories of captivity.
“Currently we are working very hard to cultivate our farm land and have planted varieties of crops such as cassava, millet and beans. We have joined the local farming group, which has boosted our agricultural output and gives us guidance on what we should plant. This has further broadened my social network and I feel wholly accepted by the community.”
Anna now produces enough food to feed her whole family as well as sell some to the community. Anna and her new family can now look forward to a brighter, happier future.