The following story is written by one of the ILA team in Uganda. Names have been changed and the photo is from general stock, to protect identity. ILA is a partner of CRED Foundation, and this story shows yet again just how life-transforming is their work.
|While our team were providing our Empower Kids Trauma Counseling Program at the refugee settlement, we gave the opportunity for children to share their experience of life while they were home in South Sudan. A few children rose up and began to speak of the war, violence, their loss, how many were killed and how they walked a long distance to get to Uganda. Jacob, who is 13 years old, did not have the strength to share his story in front of the other children. He requested that he share his story with one of the I Live Again Uganda staff alone.
Cinderella, (an ILA Trauma Counsellor) sat a distance away from the group of children with Jacob to give him the space and safety that he needed to share his story. Jacob, told Cinderella about how he remembers how his Father had sent him and his other siblings away one evening. His Father told him, “Its not safe for you to stay here. The rebels are close.” Listening to their Father’s advice, Jacob and his siblings left their home and slept in the bushes that night.
The following morning Jacob returned back to his village and home. He an others soon found out that the rebels had attacked their home that night. His Father, and countless others had been abducted and taken by the rebels. He also found out that his friend had been blocked in his hut and the hut was set on fire. His friend was killed that day.
“I felt like the world was dark. I didn’t want to live. Everything felt like such a big mess.”
After two days, Jacob’s Father appeared from the bushes. His Father was badly injured. He was limping and his face was swollen. It was at that time that Jacob and his family would leave everything they knew – their home, their school, their livelihoods – everything to seek safety in Uganda.
Jacob’s story is painful. BUT, thanks to ILA, Jacob’s story is changing!
He went from telling us how “the world felt dark” to now full of hope. “There are no gun shots here. When I come to I Live Again Uganda’s Program, we play games, dance and share stories that help me move away from what I went through before. Whenever I come to I Live Again Uganda’s Program, I will always be laughing!”