Nighty Achieng

Gulu, Uganda

Nighty 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. Nighty herself was abducted in 1995 at the age of eleven and returned home in 2000 with a child. 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. The ten artists, including Nighty, produced harrowing stories which were then brought to the US and assembled into three powerful advocacy quilts which are described on our website. After completing their war stories, the WAW trainees asked for another training and produced embroidered images of iconic breads of Africa. These have also been turned into a quilt and will be used to advocate against hunger.

The artists are keen to continue stitching as a group and hope to find a market for their embroidery. Nighty certainly needs the money because her life remains incredibly difficult. Both of her parents were killed by the LRA when she was kidnapped and she still has serious chest pains for being forced to carry head loads in captivity. Nighty is so short of money that she lives in the same rented room as her son, who is ostracized in the village. She has received some basic training in making bags, but has been unable to turn it into a regular source of income and is forced to work as a day laborer. At least the WAW embroidery training has given her the chance to offer a new service, as well as being very therapeutic. When WAW meets as a group, she says, she can “vent” about anything that is bothering her, past or present challenges.

More from Nighty Acheng 

Work by Nighty