TFV Project: Surviving Sexual & Gender Based Violence through Sewing

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Twenty-six year old Josephine from Omokokitunge village in Omoro District was selected as one of the beneficiaries for the Trust Fund for Victims Project, carried out by GWED-G.

In 2003, Josephine from Omoro District was brutally gang raped and left helpless by the roadside by three unknown militants during the insurgency in Northern Uganda. Two weeks following her horrific attack, Josephine started noticing serious pains in her genitals. The pain was so severe, she was taken to a health centre for examination. To her dismay, Josephine was diagnosed with a complicated Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and put on medications for two months. Unfortunately, her condition showed little marked improvement.

In Uganda, poverty levels continue to be high. People struggle to make ends meet, and this means accessing healthcare services can be a burden too far out of reach. For this reason, Josephine was unable to seek further treatment. STIs carry stigmatization in many corners of the world and Uganda is no exception. While Josephine went on to marry and conceive a child, her husband left her when her baby was sadly diagnosed with the same STI as Josephine.

Living with a painful condition that caused her embarrassment and isolation, Josephine wondered if she would ever be reunited with her husband and regain support to raise her child.

Her turning point came along in 2017 when Josephine happened to attend a sensitization meeting organized by GWED-G. Impressed with the work done by GWED-G staff and the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) Project, Josephine summoned the courage to come forward and disclose her survivor status. GWED-G staff took her for immediate assessment to Lacor Hospital (Gulu) for medical guidance to treat her condition. At the hospital, she was examined thoroughly, including x-rays, and signed up for corrective surgery as her infection had become so serious without proper treatment for so long.

Following her surgery and recovery, Josephine exclaimed:

Today I express great happiness because the pain is no more! I am a very happy lady because I have not only regained my health but also reunited with my husband! Thanks to GWED-G and TFV.

When GWED-G caught up with Josephine, she continued to recover well from her operation and participates in light chores around the home only. She had always wanted to be selected for the opportunity to get some skills training to help her generate an income. Fortunately, GWED-G included Josephine in its economic empowerment skills training, where she was trained in craft making, learning how to make shoes and bags. After completing her training, she intends on continuing creating craft items to help support her family.