Mary Atim

Gulu, Uganda

Mary is one of hundreds of 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. Mary herself was abducted in 1996 at the age of nine and given to a man who raped and flogged her when she tried to resist. Mary returned home in 2001. In 2021 The Advocacy Project received a request to organize embroidery training for Women in Action for Women (WAW), an association that supports survivors of LRA brutality. Mary was one of ten WAW members who attended the training in July 2021 and produced harrowing stories. Their blocks were assembled into three powerful advocacy quilts in the US and are described on our website. After completing their war stories, Mary and the others asked for another training which produced embroidered images of iconic breads of Africa. These have also been turned into a quilt and will be used to advocate against hunger. Mary hopes to find a market for her embroidery. She makes bags with an NGO but the payment is “peanuts.” Mary is already using her new-found embroidery skills to embellish her bags.

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Work by Mary