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Nantale's story

Warning: Our mission means we're called to share the love of Jesus even in the darkest of situations. Nantale’s* story is difficult to read and contains references to child sexual abuse. But we think it’s important to share, so that you can stop abuse like this, wherever it happens. Find out how you can stand up for children at risk at the bottom of this story.

Like any parent, Nantale’s father wanted to do what was best for his daughter. So when seven-year-old Nantale developed a growth on her leg, her father went to as many health centres as he could to help her get better. But no-one could help her. Every day Nantale said “Daddy, I’m in pain,” and she was struggling to walk. As a last resort, Nantale’s father took her to a local church for prayer – which is where the unthinkable happened.

The two men at the church told him to send Nantale with her aunt, but when they arrived, her aunt was told to stay outside. And, tragically, horrifically, those men abused Nantale so badly she couldn’t walk. As soon as her father found out, he went straight to the police. And then he carried his daughter to the hospital in Gulu City. He thought she was going to die.

Valerie runs training on positive parenting, reproductive health and why it’s important to stay in school.

Valerie first heard Nantale’s story when a friend of hers called her to the hospital. Valerie is the Child Protection Officer at BMS World Mission’s Ugandan partner Justice Livelihoods Health – and she’s determined to do whatever she can to protect the children of Gulu. But when her friend told her about Nantale, she was at a complete loss. “I got my notebook out and I could not write,” she says. “When he started talking, I was so heartbroken and sad for that little girl.” But Valerie was there to protect Nantale and help her heal however she could. She helped Nantale get some crucial medication, and found a lawyer to help follow up the case.

Nantale had to stay in hospital for over a month, but she was not alone. Valerie visited her regularly, bringing her colouring sheets to do and keeping her company. And when she was well enough to be discharged, Valerie helped arrange for her to stay with her grandmother, far away from where she was attacked. “She said to me: ‘Thank you for the help. Thank you for loving me,’” says Valerie.

Valerie is determined to protect children across Gulu. You can make her work possible by giving today.

Thank God, one of Nantale’s abusers is still in jail and the case against the other one is still active. Valerie is confident that justice will soon be served. And she continues to follow up with Nantale – she’s recently returned to school and is happy living with her grandmother. “My work is to make sure that emotionally and psychologically she's not damaged for life,” explains Valerie. “At the moment, I'm just being a friend.” Valerie brings Nantale lollipops and milk, and they sing songs together. And when she’s ready to open up and share more about what she went through, Valerie will be there to help her heal. To make sure she knows she can carry on, safe and secure and loved by God.

*Name changed

Author: Laura Durrant

Published: 20/07/2024

How to make a difference

Thanks to your support, Valerie is there to help children like Nantale. But there is still so much work to do, and so many children and parents that need help. As well as dealing with cases of abuse and neglect, Valerie and her team also run trainings and campaigns for parents, teachers and community leaders. They are stopping abuse before it happens, showing parents where they can get help when they’re struggling and keeping girls in school. But your support is crucial to making Valerie’s work possible. Will you stand up against child abuse in Uganda and give today?

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By completing this form, you are confirming that you are happy for us to contact you. You can change your mind at any time by emailing supporterservices@bmsworldmission.org or phoning 01235 517638. We will never sell your data and we promise to keep your details safe and secure. We are registered with the Fundraising Regulator. For more details on how we use and protect your data, visit www.bmsworldmission.org/privacy

By completing this form, you are confirming that you are happy for us to contact you. You can change your mind at any time by emailing supporterservices@bmsworldmission.org or phoning 01235 517638. We will never sell your data and we promise to keep your details safe and secure. We are registered with the Fundraising Regulator.

For more details on how we use and protect your data, visit www.bmsworldmission.org/privacy