Susan A – Surgery Gives Victim a Second Chance at School

Eight-year old Susan Akello was living with her family in the refugee camp of Lapono when it was attacked by the LRA in 2005.

“The Lord Resistance Army came into the camp, abducted some people, and burned the houses”, Susan testified to AYINET counselors. “One night, I was with my mother and father in the house. My mother was abducted and the LRA burned the house [me and my father] were in.”

Although Susan and her father escaped, Susan suffered a severe burn on her hand. Because the hand was not properly treated, it contracted and eventually Susan was unable to use it. “This affected my studies”, Susan told AYINET. Now fifteen, Susan is far behind peers her age in school. Susan has also suffered teasing and harassment from some classmates. “I feel bad in class and this makes me not concentrate”, she said.

After receiving medical treatment from AYINET on her hand in 2012, doctors were able to restore much of the movement in Susan’s hand. “After the operation I feel better and that I will be liked by my fellow pupils who used to call me names”, she said. “I’m happy about the assistance given to me because I never expected it to happen; I thought I would be that ugly girl in the eyes of other people.”

Since the operation, Susan has returned to school and continues to receive psychosocial counseling from AYINET. Although Susan is happier about her hand after the surgery, she told AYINET that she still hopes that one day her mother, still in LRA captivity, will come home. “My father is here, but my mother is still missing”.

Names and minor details were changed in some of these stories to protect patient confidentiality