By Missy Ward
Leila is a 22 year old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Leila fled her country after a group of rebel soldiers invaded her village. Leila, along with her mother and six other siblings made the very difficult passage to Uganda. Their family greatly struggled after arriving in Uganda as they stayed in a slum and lived on less than a dollar a day.
Due to their unsafe housing conditions, Leila was attacked and raped. She became pregnant as a result of the rape. Seven months later, Leila’s mother, Jenny, began to be threatened by a neighbor. Jenny reported these threats to a local refugee agency and was laughed at and turned away. One week later, Jenny was attacked and set on fire.
She was hospitalized as a result of these burns. Two weeks later, Jenny died, leaving Leila to take care of her six siblings and baby. In one year, Leila’s life had been completely turned upside down.
I met Leila and her siblings shortly after their mother died. They all were severely traumatized and scared. Since this time, they have moved into a small one room home close to our refugee community center. The children have begun attending ESL and computer classes. One of the siblings has begun working in a home where she earns $20 a month. Their family is still struggling, as their 8 person family lives on less than a dollar a day.
Their situation is seemingly overwhelming. What their family has been through in one year, no one should experience in a lifetime. Still, God is with them and working in the midst of their tragedy and despair. Thanks to God’s provision through your generous support, Leila has a place to go to heal from her trauma and to receive the skills that she needs in order to re-build her life and adequately provide for her siblings.
Yesterday, Leila was among the group of residents who moved into the women’s shelter. She, along with 4 other young women, has begun our young women’s empowerment program. Over the next three months, they will make the journey together towards healing, transformation and empowerment. In the program, Leila will have the opportunity to learn about God’s love through daily bible studies, learn English, business training, sewing, receive counseling, etc.
Please pray for Leila and our four other residents as they go through the program in the next three months. Please pray that they will experience God’s hope, love and grace. Please pray also for our staff who is working with them and their families.
Missy Ward serves in Uganda as one of CBF’s partner-funded field personnel. Your support makes Missy’s ministry program possible! You can make a one time or recurring gift online or through mailing a check to the following address: P O Box 102972, Atlanta, GA 30368-2972. Please make the check payable to The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Please write Missy Ward in the memo line.