The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a violent anti-government rebel force, came into power in 1986. From 1987 to 2006, the LRA had abducted over 70,000 children, youth and adults, committing gross human rights violations and widespread violence. Beginning in 1996, the people of northern Uganda were required by the Ugandan government to leave their villages and relocate to Internally Displaced Persons camps (IDPs). IDP camps were initially created to protect civilians against the rebel army, but poor conditions quickly created an unsafe, unsanitary, and over-populated environment. Approximately, two million people lived in IDPs at the height of the conflict across the region of northern Uganda.
Midwives have been at the heart of the nearly three-decades old civil war in northern Uganda. They have been treating child mothers, traumatized women, and caring for many of the children that have become orphaned by this conflict. They have also suffered directly through the abuse, abductions, and killing of their own family members. During the height of the war, hospitals and health clinics were used to protect children who fled their villages each night, hiding from the rebel forces. Children lined the hospital corridors in hopes of finding safety through the night. While rebel activity moved into the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and regions of Sudan, the suffering came to a close in northern Uganda in 2006. New efforts toward rehabilitation and recovery have just begun for many communities. VBI is committed to supporting this individual and community initiated healing process.