I lived with my mother, grandmother, my aunties and their husbands. There had been rebels in the Congo for many years, rebels from different tribes and areas. We had been safe, until now.
It was a rebel group from Rwanda that attacked our peaceful village. They took many women. I was 13 years old and I was taken by a group of them into the bush.
And there, I was the wife of four men.
Big men in the rebel groups.
I got pregnant in the bush. I delivered the baby there. If you refused to sleep with them, they would stab you. And I still have the scars on my chest and on my stomach.
One day, while I was out looking for firewood I escaped from that place. My baby was seven months old.
But the rebels found me again.
One day, when I was very sick, I was taken to the hospital. A woman helped me escape and I was brought here, to Uganda. I had a fistula that made life difficult, and no man wanted to marry me. I didn’t know what to do or how I would care for my kids.
I found out about Tutapona doing sessions in my community, so I went along. They took me to the hospital to care and they kept following up with me, they helped me and now I’m doing much better.
Tutapona taught me to forgive and let go. They trained me to fight for my life. I forgive those people and I love my children. I forgive, and I don’t fear them in my heart anymore.
I have a shop now, my children are getting better, they are eating and getting some clothing. Through Tutapona, I’ve discovered that I can be a great tool around the community.
I’ve become an advisor to my neighbors and to those around me. When people near me have problems, they come to me for care and I help them. I feel proud about that.
I’m free now, and very happy because of Tutapona.
Support TutaponaBecause of the generosity of others, Francine is now a light in her family and her community. BUT there are thousands of people just like Francine with stories that are yet to end with hope.
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