After enduring the stigma of returning to their communities as former LRA abductees, the Mend ladies have been working to rebuild their lives and find a sense of home. So far two have chosen to buy their own plots of land, inspiring the rest to make plans for one day owning their own property and further establishing their sense of belonging.

“Although legal constraints to women’s land ownership [in Uganda] were eliminated in the new Constitution, women are not always aware of their rights and cultural practices inhibit their access to land.”

This was from a UN publication in 2002. Ten years later, many women are still not sufficiently educated on their rights and ability to own property, and the ladies at Mend were no different. At least until this month, when the Mend staff brought in a lawyer from Great Lakes Center for Conflict Resolution (GLACCR) to conduct a two day training on land ownership.

“I want to buy land for the children that I had while in captivity, since they won’t have any land from their father,” Laker Lucy explained. “In this training I learned how to carry out a preliminary survey before buying land, and how to protect my rights once I own it.”

Lucy, who has now spent 8 months with Mend, plans to purchase her own land in the next two years. She is now armed with the knowledge to exercise her rights and make that dream a reality.

For more updates on the happenings at Mend, follow them on Tumblr.

-Bethany & Eric