Nancy 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. Nighty herself was abducted in 1991 at the age of thirteen and returned home in 2004. In 2021 The Advocacy Project was asked to organize embroidery training for ten members of Women in Action for Women (WAW), an association formed to support survivors of LRA brutality. The ten trainees, including Nancy, 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 iconic breads of Africa which have also been turned into a quilt and will be used to advocate against hunger.
Nancy and the other artists are keen to continue stitching as a group and hope to find a market for their embroidery. Nancy certainly needs the money because her life remains incredibly difficult. Her father was killed by LRA rebels and her mother died from a heart attack after witnessing her husband’s death. Nancy’s knee still hurts from being shot by the man who raped her in the jungle. Her dream is to make cakes and bread and eventually open her own shop. In the meantime, she says, embroidery has become her favorite pastime and given her a chance to spend time with her friends from WAW. “We share, we council ourselves, that is why we are strong,” she says.