"One day I was out collecting water with my aunty. We met a group of soldiers and one of them told me to go with him"… ;
Anne Therese's name has been altered to protect her identity
I was afraid he was going to kill me.
"He asked me if I was wearing underwear, I answered yes. He told me to take it off. He raped me and then he gave me back my jerrycan and ordered me to collect water for him. After that I really suffered. My body was damaged and there was always urine leaking down my legs. I had to stop going to school because the other children laughed at me and I couldn’t concentrate in class. Sometimes I would tremble so much, I had terrible nightmares. Whenever I saw a soldier or a man I would remember what happened and I couldn’t look at them – I was so scared."
"My life is much better since I came here. I have clothes and food. The psychologist has helped me to understand that what happened was not my fault.”
Anne Therese is an orphan and now lives with other vulnerable girls in a home funded by War Child. They are providing her with shelter and supporting her to continue her studies. She is receiving ongoing care from a psychologist and team of social workers. Thanks to the secure and loving environment, the care of War Child's staff and strong friendships forged with other girls who have experienced similar events, she is finally able to look towards the future again.
“Here at the centre, they look after me as if I was their own child. If I’m sick they take me to the hospital. I eat well and I sleep well under blankets and on a mattress. I have started a tailoring course, which I am excited about and I am thinking about what I can do when I leave the centre.”
‘We have witnessed a huge change. She is not the same girl who arrived here several months ago. Back then she could hardly look at others in the eye. Now she is able to laugh and chat with her friends and is thinking about what she will do with when she leaves the centre.’
– War Child's social worker who has worked with Anne-Therese
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