- Lira, Northern Uganda
Northern Uganda was severely affected by the Lord’s resistance Army (LRA) insurgency. Children abducted by the LRA rebels were forced to participate in war crimes against humanity against their will. Many of the children lost their lives. Young girls were given out as sex slaves to commanders. Some girls contracted HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The majority of them became child mothers at tender ages, children bearing children with the LRA rebel commanders while in captivity.
With relative peace, the region is in a critical and historic period of transition. Most of the surviving formerly abducted children and youths have returned home only to face numerous challenges. Child mothers are particularly affected, although some are accepted by their families, the majority are rejected. Most of these children lost many of their formative years in captivity and have outgrown school going age. They further have no skills to get or create jobs. Rejected by family and neglected by society, formerly abducted children/youth are among the most vulnerable in northern Uganda.
Local Resources are Accessed. Honey production is chosen as the most viable income source. Pilot Light, partnering with Children of Peace Uganda begins the Honey Farmer Project where children too old to return to school can learn a trade and the skills necessary to support themselves.
Hives are Built and Bees Brought In. Bee Keeping, and hive management, and best business practices are taught. As honey sales increase the program is expanded.
Breaking the Cycle of Violence. The project currently serves 58 beneficiaries in 58 different households and is growing. Proving that through economic empowerment lives can be rebuilt. Communities can be rejoined.
Economic Self-Sufficiency. Ability for the 58 beneficiaries to meet basic needs of food and shelter for themselves and their children.
Reintegration Into Society. Economic Empowerment ensures a place and an identity within the community.
Self Respect can be regained. Members serve as Role Models for other young adults.
Hope for the Future Generation. The cycle of violence can end with this generation.