I am Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe. I have helped thousands of young women victimized by the Lord's Resistance Army. AMA.
Sep 23rd 2014 by SisterRosemary • 19 Questions • 755 Points
I am Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, from the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was founded in South Sudan, and moved to Uganda after the civil war in South Sudan. From the time I joined, us Sisters had a passion to support the most vulnerable, especially children. I started helping those harmed by the Lord's Resistance Army back in 1987. I started at a small scale, and then started to support a larger group of women who were abducted and then managed to escape and come back. Currently, every year we take in around 250 women with their children, and also we do not only limit our support to women who were taken by rebels but also girls in Northern Uganda who have lost their education due to the war, and we have also extended our program to support women with HIV/Aids so they can have skill training and get support from their own friends and be able to support one another. We give them so many types of education - we are going to teach sustainable agriculture, which helps support women in the community as well.
I was appointed a CNN Hero and the 2014 TIME 100 Honoree, and am the subject of the film Sewing Hope. The film is opening in New York this Thursday.
I am here at reddit NYC with Victoria assisting me. AMA.
EDIT: Well, you can find me on Twitter @Sister_Rosemary. I must go to my screening, but I am very grateful for this opportunity to speak to the public and learn also some new things. And I am really very much fascinated about the difference of culture and opinion, especially as HIV/AIDs and condoms are concerned. There is a lot of diverse thoughts about this, and you can see, I don't go very far away, I always narrow down all my answers to education.
What was your impression of the "Kony 2012" video about the LRA's leader, and did it's release have any affect on your work?
Well, it didn't affect my work exactly. Positiively or negatively, it's not about my work. But I really do feel it was a great highlight, because these same children who are in that video are children who have also been with us. So there was a great awareness in the public eyes, especially in the international community, but again, I say, the emphasis is there. And for me, I personally think the emphasis should NOT be on the rebel leader. The emphasis should be on those who were affected! Because even if we catch this man today, where are our plans for those who have been affected? Otherwise, I am very happy that many people saw this video, I am happy that it did, at least it made people aware of what has happened in Uganda for all these years. But people should know that it is NOT finished - we are dealing with the aftermath of this war. People need a lot of healing process, and there are so many things we need. If there are non-governmental organizations who have been in Northern Uganda and now want to say "it is time for us to leave," It would not be a good thing, because for ME this is the time to begin, the time to start rebuilding people.
No. No. I have never seen a diamond in real life. I come from a small village! You have to know that! Not even here in New York!
What is your own opinion on the Catholic Church's ban of contraceptives in relation to the massive number of people infected with HIV/AIDs in Africa? Do you think the ban has contributed to the spread of this deadly disease?
This is not the first time I am hearing this question! I always say: the first thing that must go with contraception is education. There is no word in my language for condoms. So contraceptives or no contraceptives, you have to educate people. If you give young people condoms, children use them as balloons. You have to educate people about these things. Sometimes people will just give things out, like from the top of the tree. You have to go from the bottom of the tree up. When you start from down and go up, don't start from up and come down.
I am a midwife by profession - yes. I have taught natural family planning, contraceptives, but if you don't educate people, it will never work.