Salome was sent by her husband from the Congo to Uganda during the war in 2000, only to be left alone in Uganda. During the two-year time she was waiting for her husband, Salome found support, comfort and work in relationships with new men. She moved to another village outside Gulu with another man, had her first son and was abandoned again. When she returned to Gulu she was preached to by a local church and found she could be saved by God. When she and her friends could not pay their rent she found solace with others in the Zion Project Home, where she heard about the opportunity to earn a living making jewelry. Now Salome sees the Lord in her life and feels strength to move forward to support herself and her three children.
Dreams for the future: If God would bless her she wants a small piece of land so she can build a house for she and her boys. She wants them to grow and settle and go to school. If she can afford it, she would like to go back to school.
Hobbies: She likes to sing and she watches a lot of movies and TV. She likes reading the Bible.
Valerie came to Uganda from the Congo with a Ugandan soldier still in the war. When she had not heard from her husband for nearly two years, Valerie started bringing other men into her home for support. One day at church, God spoke to her and told her that if she continued seeing multiple men that she would live a long, painful life filled with many hardships. She started fearing the power of the Lord and grew very distressed after seeing her friends die from prostitution everyday. Her husband returned after two years and is now able to come and go from home. Valerie found Zion Project after praying for God to give her a craft to do with her hands. She still believes that God put this program into her life and she feels blessed that she can support herself and her son when her husband is detained.
Hobbies: Valerie loves to sing. She also enjoys keeping her home tidy. She has an infectious laugh and a joking sense of humor. She loves making friends laugh.
Dreams for the future: She plans to get a piece of land. If God blesses her she wants to also bless the needy.
During the first several years after being brought to Uganda, Elizabeth traveled all over and was at times very close to the fighting on the border of Sudan. She spent 8 months back in the Congo with her parents and then was brought back to Gulu where she and her husband have stayed with their three children. She remembers her prayers at the time, but that she had no church to pray in and no salvation. Then she was met by Zion Project, where she came to know Jesus. For a long time her husband rejected the church and would come home very angry and drunk. Through the ministry of her church he came to accept Jesus into his heart and is now a changed man. Elizabeth is known as a mother figure for many in Gulu, especially to the Congolese women in her community. She takes care of the women when they need security from their husbands and families and provides food and shelter to those children with problems in their own homes. Even when she cannot provide, she finds a way.
What makes her happy: She finds the Lord’s joy in her heart when she sees God help her through her daily struggles.
Hobbies: she loves to cook and keep her house “smart” and organized so she can keep the children in line.
Dreams for the future: She wants God to bless her with a piece of land. She wants to build a house that can accommodate the type of people that see her as a point of hope. She wants them to run to her house and stay freely. She also dreams to have a proper wedding with her husband.
Jackie was left in Gulu when her husband returned to the Front Line. She was left with no assistance to find work for herself, so she started selling coal for very little money. When she returned to her husband’s village to see if she could get some assistance from him, he pulled out his gun and threatened to kill her. So, she returned to his village and did not hear from him again and is now with another man. She found Zion Project when the church was doing outreach to the locals and it was here that she heard of how she could learn to make jewelry. She believes that working here has taught her how to be strong and how to pray.
Dreams for the future: She wants to live long so she can see her children grow up and mature. She wants to watch over them. She wants God to provide for her children and provide for them to go to school.
What makes her happy: seeing her salvation everyday makes her happy. Before she was saved she said she had a lot of burdens. Now she feels free.
Hobbies: She enjoys worshiping God and singing.
Flora is our only lady that is a local Acholi from Gulu. Before finding her job with Imani, she felt like there was something missing in her life. Flora heard about the jewelry making training from a friend in town, and even though she was selected to join Imani, her struggles with the Congolese women were extremely difficult upon starting her work. However, as the women began to learn more about each other and their relationships with God, they began to treat one another and Flora like family. Imani has helped her financially to support herself and also has encouraged her to work harder for God.
Dreams for the future: After working for Imani, she used to want to go to school but now she thinks it will not work. She believes that it is too hard to be a mother, work and go to school also. She would like to start a small business.
Hobbies: She likes to be with her friends, watch movies and relax with people around her.
When Christine arrived in Uganda to her husband’s village, she found that he had two other wives. The women shunned her and mistreated her. Christine recalls that one bewitched her, making her walk naked and crazy through the villages. For four years she was brought to many different doctors and was finally healed. She met her second husband after some time, but used to sneak out to see other men when he was away. Christine became so tired of life and how she was living it, that she finally decided to come to church. She remembers the help she received from church, but says that it was not until she received counseling from Zion Project that she felt she could truly live a good life with her husband and children. She told us that she used to have the worst temper, so bad she wanted to kill people. Now she says she is so calm and so at ease with her life and she is thankful she is able to sleep at night. She can now help support her family and this brings her great joy.
Dreams for the future: She prays that God will bless her with a piece of land for her children to have their own home. She wants she and her husband to be cured of their diseases. She hopes that God will give her children wisdom for their future.
Sarah became very ill with TB when she first arrived with her husband. He had refused to go back to war and was unable to support her, so Sarah was transported back to Gulu to be cared for by her sisters. After Sarah healed, she met her current husband and moved into his village where she discovered he had another wife with many older children. Soon after being involved with Zion Project, Sarah’s husband was also ministered to and was saved. Sarah thanks God for this blessing because she remembers times when he was very drunk and rough and now they live a happier life together. She heard about the Zion church from someone doing ministry in her area and when she came to church she came to learn about the jewelry making lessons. Zion has made it possible for she and her husband to survive. She is able to save a little that she has sent in times of need to her children back in the Congo. She has HIV but still her husband has tested negative… a real miracle. She has been very diligent about taking her medications and has become an inspiration to those fighting the disease.
Hobbies: She likes to keep her house neat. She loves to cook.
Dreams for the future: She wants a plot of land for her sons. She wants them to have a place to call home.
Justina was brought to Uganda with her husband during the
war. When they were relocated to Gulu, Justina’s husband spent less time with
her and began to support her less and less. The few times he would return, he
found that Justina had been spending time with several other men that were also
supporting her. Justina felt so
guilty in this new lifestyle that she stopped going to church because she
feared she had lost God’s love completely. It wasn’t until she was lead to Zion
Project and their outreach that she began to pray again. A few years ago, Justina became very
ill and found that she has HIV.
She learned after that her husband had been HIV positive for many years,
and had been hiding it from her until he found out she had it also. Thankfully, Justina is dedicated to
taking medication and feels healthy.
Justina says making jewelry for Zion Project has allowed her to plan for
her future, support her growing family, and also keeps she and her friends busy
and away from gossip and trouble.
Hobbies: She loves to listen to music and just relax and be
Her dream: She wants to buy her son a piece of land. She
dreams to someday also have her own home.
Niclete was abducted to fight as a child soldier for two
years in Congo when she was only 14 years old. She remembers being trained for 3 weeks to fight in the front
lines. She felt her only
means of escaping would be through marrying a Ugandan soldier that would take
her back to Uganda. When she first
arrived, Niclete found that her husband also had another wife that became very
abusive to her. She can now support her five children, soon to be six, because
the money she earns through making Imani jewelry. Niclete lost a child last
year, only hours after it was born.
Soon after she lost her baby was when she starting receiving counseling
with Zion Project. Now, Niclete feels the burdens on her heart are lifted and
that she has the power to overcome her daily struggles.
Dream for the future: She wants to keep this job that helps sustain her.
Someday, Niclete would love to run a big business selling clothes. She now owns
a small plot of land that she dreams of building a home on.
Hobbies: She love shopping and selling things.
Bijou was only 16 when war began in her home town of Congo
and rebels killed her father leaving her mother and siblings destitute. For
protection she sought the safety of a Ugandan soldier only to be impregnated
and trafficked into Uganda. Bijou’s “husband,” left her a few years later,
having given her HIV. Life became so hard as a refugee with no family and no
support, and Bijou had 3 mouths to feed so she went to Sudan to sell her body
for money to live. When Bijou tired of that life she stayed with a man in
Uganda who ended up leaving her pregnant when she refused to abort her baby.
She remembers giving up on God and wanting to die, until Zion Project found her. Since she has been enrolled in the
Imani program, Bijou feels fulfillment in life and strength to face a new
day. She believes she has a home
and friends to come to with her struggles.
Dream for the future: Bijou dreams of owning her own piece of land
someday in her hometown in Congo so that her mother can have a place to live in