“We ran away, both of us were pregnant”

As they were returning from the church on a Sunday, Lisa and two friends were abducted by a group of armed men

Moperp Kambale
Une jeune fille marchant
19 February 2018

“I had to learn how to use guns and kill people”, explains Lisa*. As she was returning from the church on a Sunday with Sheila and Marie, the 16-year-old girl and her two friends were abducted by a group of armed men, members of the May Mai Simba group in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“I had to carry stolen goods,” Lisa recalls sadly. After a moment of silence and hesitation, the girl continues to tell her story. "The Colonel raped me several times and I found out I was pregnant." In March 2016, "while fetching water, we fled with Sheila because both of us were both," says Lisa. "Unfortunately, Marie remained in the camp, with the armed group.” After fleeing the militia, Lisa was taken care of at a UNICEF-supported transit and orientation center where she received counseling, psychosocial care and love. However, Lisa says she was worried about carrying an unwanted child.

“I was wondering how I would feel in the community with a baby whose father was living in the bush in an armed group,” Lisa admits. “Thanks to the counselling and care I received at the transit center, I started to accept my pregnancy,” she continues. A few months after arriving at the center, Lisa became a mother of a beautiful baby boy.

“I feel the joy of being a mother. I did not expect to experience so much happiness.”

Lisa was reunified with her uncle in February 2017, as the security context was not conducive enough for a reunification in her home town. Both are supported for economic reintegration via an income generating activities. Lisa has decided to sell fish, while her uncle sells some goods, in addition to his activities at the farm.

“As a family, we had contradictory feelings: the joy of seeing our niece alive; and the shame of hosting a girl-mother with a baby born out of wedlock”, said the uncle. He sighed and smiled. “This thought us a strong lesson! What appeared to be a curse eventually turned into a topic of joy for the family.”