Studying to catch up after time with the LRA

Studying to catch up after time with the LRA

When Juliet was just 12 years old she was abducted from her home in Northern Uganda by rebels from the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Juliet was held in captivity for six years, taken from Uganda to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. She was forced to marry a senior commander when she was only 14. Juliet says, ‘girls have to get married by force, this is the really bad thing.’

At 16, Juliet became pregnant. Even during her excruciating labour, the LRA moved her constantly. Juliet suffered immense pain for a week before the baby eventually died inside her. It was days before a local doctor performed an operation to remove the baby. There was no anaesthetic, and the doctor used an ordinary razor blade. Juliet explains, ‘When you are pregnant there is no hospital in the bush, if the baby dies inside you they will rip it from you by force. It happened to many girls not just me.’ Unsurprisingly, Juliet passed out from the pain and her subsequent state of health was extremely bad. She developed a fistula and had other complications.

After Juliet escaped from the LRA, one of War Child’s partner organizations helped her locate her family back in Northern Uganda.

Juliet now attends a school in Northern Uganda created especially for girls like her who have missed out on education because of the conflict. She is working hard to catch up on the years of schooling she missed whilst in captivity with the LRA. As she says, ‘When I came back I really wanted to go back to school. I always dreamt about school and my friends from before even when I was in the bush.’

Her efforts are paying off. She has refused to allow her past to shape her future, and her confidence and warmth to the other girls has helped her win the role of Head Girl. Juliet dreams of becoming a nurse and stresses the value of an education, telling us that ‘many girls have been through hardship like me, they are denied an education. If you are not educated, you are nothing.’

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