Abducted walking home from school, tortured
In June 2003 John was returning home from his normal day at school when he was confronted by rebel soldiers from the LRA. He was abducted at gun-point and forced to walk many miles from his home town of Kitgum, in northern Uganda, until the rebel group reached their well hidden camp in the mountains of neighbouring southern Sudan. John was accused of being a soldier in the Ugandan army. He pleaded with the LRA commander, insisting that he was not a soldier, but simply a student returning to his home.
John’s lips and nose were slashed and his ears cut off with a knife. The fingers of both hands were removed with an axe. Brutally treated, bleeding and suffering unbearable pain, John was released by the rebels and found later by soldiers from the Uganda Peoples Defence Force who arranged for his transportation to Kitgum hospital. His physical wounds have now been treated, but emotional scars remain. Without any fingers and with severe facial scars, John could no longer pursue his dream of becoming a teacher. His life was shattered.
However, in 2004 John’s prospects for the future changed. He met a young woman and is now married and being cared for by his lovely wife. They have a little baby and life now looks much brighter. Although poor and with many obstacles still to overcome, John now has a better outlook for the future. Many other orphaned young people so brutally treated by the LRA have not been as fortunate as John. They are still on their own; unable to obtain a secondary education at the local school because they have no money and are simply struggling to survive.
Cornerstone Vocational Training Centre will not only provide ‘free-of-charge’ vocational training for orphaned teenagers, but will also provide specialist training in areas such as computing for those so brutally treated by the LRA. There are many young people like John who simply need someone to help them reach the potential they can still attain, even without the use of fingers.