Up to 35 former child soldiers who attained vocational training in fashion design and garment technology have been contracted by Terra Renaissance, a Japanese based, Non-Governmental Organization to produce face masks.
Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in Northern
Uganda are reaping big through the making of face masks to curb the spread of
Up to 35 former child soldiers who attained vocational training in fashion
design and garment technology have been contracted by Terra Renaissance, a Japanese
based, Non-Governmental Organization to produce face masks.
Each of them makes at least 50 face masks every day from Monday to
Saturday and earns up to 200,000 Shillings every week.
The ex-combatants are part of over 450 LRA returnees who abandoned
rebellion and returned home between 2000 and 2014, trained by Terra Renaissance
in diverse career skills at their resource training centre along Odong Onyango
Road in Gulu West Division.
The former LRA abductees have now made over 8,000 face masks which the
organization has supplied free to all members of Gulu COVID-19 Task Force,
Police, Prions market places and health staff in all lower health centres in
Margaret Piloya, a former captive abducted in 1991 spent 12 years
in LRA captivity. She that she feels a sigh of relief after being contracted to
make face masks which enables her to fend for the family because COVID-19
devastated business prospects.
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Florence Acan, another returnee who spent 18 years in captivity
after being abducted by LRA in 1996 says Terra Renaissance has allowed them to
make ends meet for her family through the vocational training skills she
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Jimmy Otema, the Head of Terra Renaissance Gulu Sub-Office disclosed
that they engaged the former trainees in exchange for a token of appreciation
to enable them to make face masks based on the Ministry of Health guidelines.
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According to Otema, the organization has also transferred its
activity funds to undertake risk communication and community engagement through
education materials to teach people to safeguard against the virus.
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Gulu COVID-19 Task Force Chairperson Maj. Santo Okot Lapolo who is
also the Resident District Commissioner said the intervention of Terra
Renaissance and former LRA abductees greatly complements the government effort
in the fight against the virus.
Due to shortage of face masks in the community, District Task
Forces in Adjumani, Yumbe, and neighbouring Pader, Omoro and Amuru among others
have also placed requests to Terra Renaissance to supply them with the masks.
Established in 2006 in Northern Uganda, Terra Renaissance
facilitates the reintegration of former child soldiers in the eight districts
of Acholi Sub-region.
It provides vocational training, basic education and peace
education to ex-combatants and the community at large as well as extending
micro-finance and credit facilities to ex-combatants and the poor in their