I’m in the northern city of Gulu where the final stages of the Ugandan civil war continued as late as 2006 and, thus, this city is still trying to recover from all that the war rough on it’s inhabitants, especially the women and children. Last night I was privileged to attend the “Women for Peace Award Ceremony” celebrating Women’s Resources for Peace and Recovery. This was the 6th annual celebration of the ways in which women have aided the recovery of the region. A combined effort of The Women’s Global Empowerment Fund and the Volunteer Action Network, this evening included speakers from many sectors of the community, lauding and challenging women for their efforts to uplift the community.
Themes among the speakers were the resilience of the human spirit and women are the solution to many of the country’s problems. These themes especially resonated with me as they are two of the many reasons why The Greater Contribution provides micro loans and training to the women of this deeply impoverished country. Consistently we see that giving a hand up to women means that her entire family and her community improves, a fact echoed by many present.
The evening included incredible, highly energetic regional dancers and musicians performing with great passion and enthusiastically received by all. Dinner was provided and the spirit of celebration and sisterhood was infectious.
Today, I witnessed a drama festival organized and presented by micro loan borrowers in Gulu. It included song, dance and drama. The urge toward self expression is so universal. Most of the presentations centered around women’s issues including their struggles for equality, creating a sustainable income for their families and domestic violence. In an atmosphere of such abject poverty, it is inspiring to see the creativity of these women prospering. Despite the impoverished conditions in which they live, they still manage to find an outlet for the expression of issues that are so critical to their lives. They continue to impress me with the myriad of ways they rise above their circumstances.