Judith is one of countless women in the district of Gulu, Northern Uganda, who were kidnapped by rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) when they were girls and forced into sexual slavery before making their escape. Judith herself was abducted in 1996 at the age of eleven and returned home in 2002 with two children. In 2021 The Advocacy Project received a request to organize embroidery training for ten members of Women in Action for Women (WAW), an association that supports survivors of LRA brutality. Judith had attended a course in tailoring in Gulu and was a natural pick to lead the WAW training. The ten artists, including Judith, produced harrowing stories which were then brought to the US and assembled into three powerful advocacy quilts. After completing their war stories, the WAW trainees asked for another training and produced embroidered images of bread which are being turned into a quilt that will be used to advocate against hunger.
The trainees are keen to continue stitching as a group and hope to find a market for their embroidery. Judith certainly needs the money because her life remains incredibly difficult. She has had to give up her tailoring because she has chest pains from her time in captivity that make it hard for her to remain seated for any length of time. Judith then started a small restaurant business which she is struggling to keep open. In spite of her problems Judith takes pride in having helped the other women to learn embroidery and saw first-hand the benefits of working together as a team. “We chat. We talk to each other and we forget about any other problems that we may have,” she says. Judith has been able to pay school fees with the money she has earned from the embroidery she has made so far and hopes to keep it going through this store.
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