“The fighting in our home country separated me from my family, I don’t know if they are still alive, I was left alone with no one to tell my challenges, no one to take care of my needs such as sanitary pads I have to use a piece of cloth, but also cleaning it is a challenge because we don’t have enough water and soap in this camp” Christine is 14 years old.

Accordingly, 70% of mothers in Bolore and Pagirinya refugee settlements think periods are dirty and 66% of girls and women manage periods without toilets. Handling periods in a refugee settlement is hugely complex, influenced by differences in sociocultural norms, with barely no education to young girls on how to experience their periods, what they can do while menstruating, what they can use to absorb menstrual blood and how they dispose the material, whether and from whom they can seek information and help.

When a girl faces obstacles in managing her menses in a healthy way, she is at risk for infection, her self-esteem and self-confidence suffer, she may remain absent from school during her period, or worse still, drop out of school altogether upon reaching puberty. Over time, these negative effects add up, preventing a young girl from achieving her full potential and having a healthy, productive life.

Vac-Net and WGEF is responding to this crisis by supplying free Lucky Girls Sanitary Pads to young girls and women in Bolore and Pagirinya refugee settlements. These 2 settlements host 36,000 people of which 72% are young girls, women and children between 9 to 18 years.

Vac-Net and WGEF has supported 300 young girls and women with free Lucky Girl Sanitary Pads, and plans to continue making monthly supplies to refugees leaving in these 2 Refugee settlements in Ajduman District.

Young Girls and Women in Pagirinya refugee settlement

To learn more about Lucky Girl Sanitary Pads visit www.wgefund.org, www.vacnetwork.org

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"Until today I have learnt that all of us in this region has passed through traumatic experiences and this affects our lives in different ways. The opportunity for today has help me and will help all my members in Lalogi, I feel empowered to heal myself and heal my fellow sisters in my community”

The conflict in Northern Uganda left whole regions devastated by visceral traumatic experiences and citizens left to handle those feelings on their own. There were Non-Government Organizations (NGO) that came in but the extent of their reach was not large enough. They chose one demographic to tackle which took care of the formerly abducted but left out the rest of the population in the North. Women’s Global Empowerment Fund is bridging this gap by equipping community peer Counsellors with Trauma Healing and counselling skills.

The trauma healing and counselling workshop for today is proving to be very successful, and very beneficial in many ways. So far, much of the counselling that our peer Counsellors have been doing has been, according to them, somewhat intuitive and ‘on-the-job’ learning – which says a massive amount about what amazing Peer Counsellors these women are, as they have been helping so many women work their way through pain and hurt at very deep levels. We are equipping Peer Counsellors with more skills and knowledge to refine and improve their techniques Such as”:-

Group based therapy has been found to be one of the most effective methods helping people who have gone through terrible traumatic experiences. When people come together and share their individual experiences, it brings relief and particularly because you get to understand that you are not alone facing life challenges. You also get valuable emotional support from the group members which create bonding and a spirit of unity. Group therapy helps to break the chain of isolation and a feeling of being unloved.

We started 2 days Trauma Healing Counselling training for all our peer counsellors, to equip them with skills to support themselves and their group members. Its is critical for peer counsellors organize occasional group based counselling sessions lasting between 1-2 hours each for for group members in their communities.

Building Trust People who have been hurt find it very difficult to Trust again. When people we trusted most betray us, it becomes difficult to trust again. A reason for example a woman can say ‘with men I have washed my hands’; because of the bad experiences she has had with men. This can translate to your family members, neighbor, government, and other people.

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“Until today I have learnt that all of us in this region has passed through traumatic experiences and this affects our lives in different ways. The opportunity for today has help me and will help all my members in Lalogi “

“I feel empowered to heal myself and heal my fellow sisters in my community”.

Thank you

Akumu Betty Peer Counsellor Lalogi- Omoro District

To learn more visit www. vacnetwork.org, www.wgefund.org

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  • vacnetwork.org

As a mother of 4 I had no idea about how my life would be after the impact of the LRA War.I was abducted at the age of six and returned with 3 children, I hardly knew what to do with my life because my parents were gone.

I had one problem after the other, with no one to turn to but one day I met a group of Women benefiting from Vac-Net due to my low self-esteem I feared to be among other women but gradually I gained the courage.

"My life has now changed not only because of the loans of $60 but also the training that I received. I managed to start up a business and a livestock project which is helping me pay school fees and other basic needs. At this point the relationship within my family has improved and we are working together to provide for our family, people in my community now respect me something I thought wasn’t meant for me. At last I have the hope that was long gone".

I encourage my fellow community women, to not think whatever they went through or are going through cannot change—we can rise above poverty once equipped with the right tools".

Our programing combines microcredit services with social and educational services in three areas of focus, literacy, leadership development and health initiatives—into a single service reaching under-resourced women. Borrowers form groups and attend business training, where they elect leaders, develop a business plan and work with staff to ensure their success. What makes our intervention unique is the inclusion of a political dimension. Poverty is the result of inequality in many spheres, and meaningful interventions must include a political dimension that enables addressing systemic inequality through participation and advocacy.

We hope that you are curious and interested in our program. Understanding that we cannot continue this work without your support, our desire is that you will be inspired by our clients and their achievements binds us together to continue support these efforts. To learn more visit www.vacnetwork.org / www.wgefund.org

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