Irene Lumunu

Gulu, Uganda

Irene was abducted in 1998 at the age of 11 while in primary level four (third grade) at school. She returned home in 2000.  She recalls being seized with her brother, who died in captivity. She was forced to be with a man who raped her, and still carries wounds that she suffered on the long walk to Sudan. She was one of only 5 captive who survived, out of the 200 seized with her.

After Irene escaped in 2000, she faced stigmatization from villagers who believed she was afflicted by evil spirits. She has hoped to go back to school, but lacked money. After doing a course in hairdressing, she returned home and "decided to get a man." The couple had two children but Irene was beaten and rejected by the man.  She now sells fish at the market. This enabled her to rent a hut, but COVID-19 wiped out her small business. She sells enough to buy food, but not send her children to school. Irene wishes she could restart her business, and plan for the future.

More from Irene Lumunu  

Click here to view Irene's square in the Ugandan War Survivors Quilt

Work by Irene