This year there has been a lot of attention on Joseph Kony and the brutal tactics used by his Lords Resistance Army in Uganda to recruit child soldiers and sex slaves. It’s estimated that during the 20 year conflict, tens of thousands of girls were abducted from their homes in the country’s north and forced to become “war brides” to rebel commanders. The war is now over (after peace talks got underway in 2006) but girls and young women returning home from the rebel camps are fighting another battle.
Many of them never had the chance to finish school, and are rejected by society because they have babies fathered by LRA soldiers. Five years ago, the Pader Girls Academy was opened in northern Uganda, the only school of its kind offering free education, job training, counselling and child care for these young mothers.