Raymond Community News

Paula Chouinard Visits Uganda In Support of ChildVoice
Submitted by Carolyn Matthews 8-30-14

On Sunday, June 29th  at Raymond Baptist Church (RBC), in a talk titled “The Girl Effect: Uganda and Beyond,” founder and Executive Director of ChildVoice International, Conrad L. Mandsager, spoke about the organization’s effort to restore the voices of children silenced by war.

Mandsager grew up in Africa and has returned numerous times to work with disadvantaged populations in Kenya, Ghana and Zambia. His focus is currently on Uganda and Somalia.  He and his family live on a small farm in Nottingham, New Hampshire.

This summer Paula Chouinard, Candia resident and health teacher at Lamprey River Elementary School in Raymond, accompanied Mandsager to Uganda.  Her work was funded by the RBC Mission Ministry, the Women’s Ministry and donations from members of the church and the community.

“Beatrice was kidnapped by the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) when she was ten years old,” Mandsager began. “She was trained as a child soldier and forced to become a sex slave.”  Her first child, born when she was barely 12, was shot off her back and killed.  Other children followed. Just one survives. Beatrice escaped and returned to her family only to be stigmatized and rejected. Other foreign aid programs tried to help her.  She could not overcome the trauma she’d suffered. She had given up on life when she came, as a last resort, to a ChildLife center.

“Many children in war torn countries are forced to do horrific things,” Mandsager said. “Children are taught to kill their own families.” These children return to cultures that blame the victim for rape, to isolation and rejection, to families with no surviving members or to families that cannot forgive. “These are truly ‘throw-away children’,” Mandsager said.

ChildVoice rehabilitates child-mother victims of war in unique ways:

“Most of the girls who apply to ChildVoice have nowhere else to turn,” Mandsager said. “They and their children are malnourished, sick with diseases like AIDS, poorly educated and traumatized.” A study conducted by the United Nations indicates that these children are very hard to help but that the Christian message of forgiveness helps the girls learn to first forgive themselves for things they’ve done, and that process enables them to forgive their abductors and start life anew.

For more information about ChildVoice see http://childvoiceintl.org/.  To help fund ChildVoice and support girls like Beatrice, consider hosting a friend/neighborhood jewelry party to sell the paper-mache beads that the girls are making.  Contact Paula Chouinard through the church at 895-2859 for details.






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