Badass Woman Of The Week: Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe

Sister Rosemary is high on the list of women I look up and aspire to be. A humbling, generous, compassionate woman, she is truly an idol. I would feel fulfilled in my life if I ever amounted to be even half of the woman she is.

The Conflict
For 25 years Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) terrorized Northern Uganda and five countries in east and central Africa. for three decades . They kidnapped children and forced them to commit atrocities against their own families and communities. Girls as young as thirteen were degraded to sex slaves for Kony's officers. The LRA has killed more than 100,000 people and kidnapped at least 60,000 children.

The LRA attacked whole villages at a time, killing the weak and the old with machetes, swords or stones, and capturing those who can be useful to them, including children strong enough to carry weapons. The captives are marched to camps where they are violently persuaded to join their cause and turned into soldiers (most often child soldiers), porters, cooks and sex slaves. Captives are then forced to kill or rape their own family members to make it impossible for them to think are returning to their homes. Those who do resist or try to escape are tortured and killed. The LRA are notorious for cutting off limbs as a form of punishment, and cut off body parts like people’s ears, lips and noses to serve as a warning to others.

Children have been the most affected by the conflict. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes and are forced to live in camps with poor sanitation and health facilities. Even those not directly in contact with the LRA suffer the consequences of poor education due to schools being destroyed by rebels and not being able to afford fees. 

The child soldiers return to the very communities they committed violent crimes against and suffer psychological trauma and face huge problems reintegrating back into their communities. Girls who were raped now bear the children of the soldiers. They lack the skills needed to be able to provide for themselves and their children and have no family to return to. Because they no longer have the support and help of their families and communities, they have little chance of finding a decent livelihood and are at grave risk of resorting to prostitution to provide for themselves and their children.

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe
Named on of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2014, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe is a Catholic nun who has dedicated her life to helping women and girls whose lives have been shattered by violence, rape and sexual exploitation by the hands of Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army by teaching them valuable skills, teaching them compassion and forgiveness for themselves and others, and helping them overcome their emotional pain.

She presides over Saint Monica's Vocational School in Gulu, Uganda, an all girls vocational skills training school which aims to rebuild girls’ lives – socially, academically and economically- and become change agents for peace and prosperity. Saint Monica's offers comprehensive, nationally accredited courses in the likes of tailoring, catering, secretarial studies and computer applications. The program strengthens literacy and helps to empower young mothers in the quest to gain self reliance through waged jobs. The school also offers a day care center for children of the young mothers. This allows for increased enrollment, retention and participation of the mothers in the skills training courses.

"Through vocational training, these young women gain independence. Through community with their fellow students, they find forgiveness. Through the restoration of their lost futures, they find hope." - Sewing Hope

Please consider purchasing Sewing Hope, the book. 100% of the net proceeds go to Pros For Africa to help support Sister Rosemary and her efforts.

Sewing Hope documentary trailer

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