It was already some years ago that I had read the book ‘Aboke Girls, abducted children in northern Uganda’ written by the Belgian journalist Els De Temmerman. It was a true story that had left a deep impression on me. The LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), led by Joseph Kony, has been over the last three decades operating in northern Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan, north-east Congo and is currently active in Central African Republic. (2018)
The LRA has been blamed for the slaughter of more than 100,000 people, rape, sexual enslavement, mutilation, maiming and the kidnapping of more than 60,000 children.
Once abducted, young boys are forced to serve as a soldier in the army, girls are used as sexual slaves and domestic servants.
A few years ago I got the opportunity to visit the project Els had started to help these children reintegrate in normal life. The Rachele School is one of the schools that gives counseling and education to formerly abducted children. Nowadays the students at the school are a mix of former child soldiers and regular students.
The children on the pictures represent all kinds of students (ex-child soldiers and non-ex-child soldiers) at the school.
Lira, Uganda 2014