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Livelihood Programs Help Heal War Wounds in Uganda
Date:10/1/2008

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Until Christian Children's Fund came into her life, 25-year-old Santa Atalla was a war-wrecked woman in northern Uganda.

She was born and raised in Lira; her life and the lives of those around her were full of fear caused by Lord's Resistance Army rebels and their atrocities.

One day in 2004, her life took a major turn for the worse. Atalla had to leave her community and walk nearly 20 miles to an Internally Displaced People's Camp. The relocation was on government orders and was the safest way to remain alive. The Lord's Resistance Army rebels were at the height of their rebellion, killing and maiming civilians, and abducting children.

Thousands of other families also abandoned their homes and went to IDPCs that were safer and under government surveillance.

Atalla, her husband Mark Ango and their then 4-year-old son Solomon Alal were in the camp for a year.

"We lost everything," Atalla said. "We lost our chickens, goats and food. We also lost our house because the mites (bugs) collapsed it when we were in the camp."

"Life was difficult," Ango said.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), there are still 944,000 displaced residents as of June 2008. The IDMC reports that there are more than 870,000 returnees like Atalla's family in their villages of origin, many of whom have ongoing protection and assistance needs.

Christian Children's Fund stepped in to help returnees return to a normal life by implementing a comprehensive livelihood community-based program. Through this program, in partnership with the United Nations Development Program, 3,000 displaced residents have improved their living conditions.

"CCF has given us money. They have taught us entrepreneur skills, book keeping," Atalla said.

CCF organized the returnees into small manageable groups and trained them in various business skills. Upon completion of the
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SOURCE Christian Children's Fund
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