Over 1 million people have fled ethnic cleansing and famine in South Sudan, most of them women and children. Opia Joyce is a Women’s Affairs leader in Boroli, one of 18 refugee settlements in Uganda’s Adjumani district. She is among the female leaders and refugee women in Uganda who have become warriors for peace.
Full article for News Deeply found here.
Photos and Video by Rachel Reed | Words by Angela Wells
Over 200,000 South Sudanese refugees have settled in Adjumani district, northern Uganda. What is unique about the situation in northern Uganda is the government and host communities' welcoming reception - refugees are given freedom of movement, small plots of land to farm, and the right to own businesses. Many Ugandans are deciding to share their land, schools, and other facilities with refugees.
Alice Yangi, from Eastern Equatoria in South Sudan, who has 12 children: "Women can bring peace in this world by educating those who are ignorant about peace. If you know what peace is, you go and tell others how peace can change someone’s life."
Susan Agull, from Juba, who has six children. “Women bring peace among themselves.”
Atior Sham, from Jonglei, who has seven children: “What brings peace amongst women – when the children of your neighbor are hungry, you give them something to eat just as you give to your children. You take care of your neighbors’ children just like your own children, don’t differentiate … Good deeds are the ones that bring peace.”
Dak Nyabol, from Malakal, who has nine children: “If women want to become good in this world, just like we are seated as neighbors, let us love each other. Even for example, a Ugandan woman is my neighbor, I would love her like my sister. And we respect each other. That is what brings peace.”
Mary Akwer, from Jonglei, who has 10 children: “If there’s no peace in your heart, it means you won’t stay in peace. There must be peace in your heart.”
Akway, from Jonglei, who has six children: “When women are seated together and you have something in your hand, you must divide it among yourselves. And then later when a sister of yours gets something she will also share with you like you shared with her. That is how peace comes among people who are staying in one place.”
Rose Poni, from Lowa, who has three children: “Women, they bring a lot of change in this world. Give back to your grandchildren so they also can bring peace to the family and the community. Take care of the sick, whether it’s a relative or not, and take her to the nearby health center to get treatment.”
Zaria Zubair, from South Kordofan: “Women can change the world through respect. If you have personal respect, the community respects you and it proceeds to the whole world. Then it’s also how we conduct ourselves in the community. Because once the community is positive about you, everything will be positive.”
Awadia Julu, from Jonglei, who has 9 children: “A woman, if she is determined to bring peace, she will start it in the house, and once she goes outside she will spread peace to other people. If a woman lives with love, peace will come. You love your neighbor as yourself. You will love your other sister like you love yourself. If your sister does not have something and you have it, you take it and give it to your sister. This is how love and peace starts.”