In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Meeting Evelyn Apoko

Posted 12/13/2010 by Grant Mitchell

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I had a very moving experience last month. I met with Evelyn Apoko in my office. She was invited to Ottawa by Senator Mobina Jaffer who does remarkable human rights work in so many ways.

She is a 19 year old young woman from Uganda who was kidnapped at age 9 by the Lord's Resistance Army and who escaped at 13. She was wounded by an explosion and her face is quite disfigured.

This is not easy for anyone and certainly not for a young woman.

But her character, presence and true leadership qualities define her beyond all things physical. It was compelling, moving and touching to listen to her tell her story. While she was not explicit about her time in captivity and her war experience, you knew as she spoke that she has been through more than we can even imagine.

She is supported now by an international organization called StongHeart which has brought her to the US for surgery, is funding her education and is helping her to develop her leadership skills so that she can help change the world. And she will. She learned English beautifully in a year in the US.

Her experience reflects the unspeakable cruelty that exists in the world but what she has become as a person reflects the hope and determination that can transcend it. She is a remarkable, beautiful person.

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