Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Thirty former Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA abductees in Gulu district have been empowered to create jobs after graduating in vocational skills courses.
The youth undertook the courses in carpentry and garment designs at Terra Renaissance training centre in Gulu Town.
On Thursday, the trainees received start-up kits worth 39 Million shillings during their graduation from the centre in Kasubi village in Bar Dege Division in Gulu Municipality.
Irene Lakica, 31, a mother of three Children returned from 14 years of LRA captivity in 2015.
She said she enrolled in the training after trying to make a living in farming and alcohol distillery in Pakwach town without much success.
Lakica is optimistic the skills she acquired will revolutionize her family livelihoods. She wants to educate her children and build a new home in Lacor Trading Center, Gulu district.
Alex Tiger Onen, another former LRA abductee said he enrolled for the course after spending 4 years in Luzira Prison. He says he got jailed after battling a tramped up criminal case related to access to land after LRA captivity.
Onen graduated in Carpentry and Joinery and hopes to make a better carpenter with his skills.
Jimmy Otema, the head of Terra Renaissance, a Japanese Capacity building non-governmental organization said they supported the trainees on account of their economic vulnerability. He said students who took carpentry and joinery were supported with 1.5 Million shillings to set up their workshops, while those in garment cutting and designs got 790,000 shillings.
Otema said since the charity started building capacity of former abductees and victims of the conflict in 2006, more than 500 beneficiaries have obtained skills for income generation in gainful employment.
Otema said they often identify the former abductees with the help of other partners such as World Vision and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who rehabilitated and resettled the former abductees at the height of the LRA conflict.
The Amnesty Commission says many former abductees in Northern Uganda are yet to be reintegrated into communities after receiving amnesty certificates. It says the group continue to suffer economically in societies.