The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) abducted Oyat Michael at the age of 8 and forced him to fight as a child soldier for seven years. While his parents have died, Michael, 20, says he relies on Angelina Atyam, a founder of the Concerned Parents Association, for guidance. "Life now is going good because when I am getting problems, my mother will give me advice," Michael says, referring to Atyam.
Serena Otim leads a workshop on psychological trauma for members of a parents' support group in Puno Anyeri village, near Lira, northern Uganda. Villagers suffered repeated attacks before the LRA withdrew its forces from the region in 2006. “The war has brought a lot of problems,” Otim says. “There is no peace in families and people are not the way they used to be, so it has brought about trauma in our lives.”
Children wait for volunteers to perform a skit in Puno Anyeri during a workshop organized by the Concerned Parents Association. Organizers use music, dance and drama to spread messages of peace and reconciliation.
Okech Richard, right, speaks with Oryem Andrew. Richard is a mediator working with the Concerned Parents Association to help resolve land conflicts in communities where many people were displaced by LRA attacks.
A visitor reads a copy of a letter, signed by an LRA commander, explaining the LRA's rationale for attacking Pajong A village. According to the letter, the LRA fighters were searching for a stolen gun. Witnesses say that the fighters killed 56 people.
Angelina Atyam helped to found the Concerned Parents Association after the LRA abducted her then 14-year-old daughter from a Catholic boarding school. Atyam's daughter escaped nearly eight years later, and hundreds of other young people are believed to remain in captivity with the LRA. The Concerned Parents Association advocates for the LRA to release all its prisoners, but it does not advocate for a military resolution to the conflict. "If we don't forgive these rebels, we are signing the death warrants of our own children," Atyam says.