My name is Sally Thomson and I left my home in Canada to volunteer with Cuso International in northern Uganda, where thousands of children were abducted and drawn into lives of slavery, murder and sexual abuse during the bloody war over the last 30 years.
Our mission here, with our partner at the Lira District Local Government, is to work with these youth and train them to become full members of the community. It is a daunting task because even here in their own country it is widely believed these youths are "redundant" and a "lost cause."
Our plan is to reach out to these former child soldiers in a meaningful and sustainable way. When we first launched this program we expected a few hundred applicants. But when the day came - the crowds almost filled the entire village! There were over a thousand young people on the first day – all of them eager to be chosen. After three days, there were 2,500 village youth clamouring to get to work.
So far, hundreds of local youth have been organized into groups working on income generating enterprises such as livestock management, agriculture, a bakery, bee-keeping and tailoring. They are now feeling useful and productive.
But we have just scratched the surface - there is still so much more to be done.
You may not visit us in Uganda – but you do have the power to make a difference from a world away.
With heartfelt thanks,
Sally Thomson, Volunteer
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