Gender Based Violence and Women’s Education
Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, Sewing Hope Foundation
Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe will speak on the effects of gender-based violence and how she uses “Learn and Earn” to help her students overcome the trauma they’ve suffered in the violent civil wars of Northern Uganda and South Sudan. Amidst the war, armed with sewing machines and love, Sister Rosemary provided a safe place for women and children fleeing and recovering from the war. Join Sister Rosemary, named one of Time Magazine’s most 100 influential people, as she discusses her work with St. Monica’s Girls’ Tailoring Center and the Sewing Hope Foundation, and how we can find hope amid trauma and pain.
This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by Dickinson Catholic Campus Ministry (a Senate sponsored club), Saint Patrick Church, Office of the President, the Center for Civic Learning & Action, the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity, the Center for Spirituality & Social Justice, and the departments of Africana studies, history, religion, women’s, gender & sexuality studies, and educational studies. This program was initiated by the Clarke Forum’s student project managers. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.
Biography (provided by the speaker)
Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe is a humanitarian and subject of the book, Sewing Hope. Sister Rosemary was honored by Time magazine in 2014 as one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She has also received a CNN Hero award, the United Nations “Impact Award,” and been honored by the “Women in The World” Summit conferences in New York City, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Davos, Switzerland, and in London.
Sister Rosemary’s story is of one woman’s fight to bring hope and dignity back to her nation. For the last 30 plus years she has answered the call to serve the victims at the epicenter of the bloody and violent civil wars that decimated North Uganda and South Sudan. For years, Joseph Kony and his “Lord’s Resistance Army” terrorized villages and stole children from their families, forcing them into slavery.
The gunfire has ceased but one battle remains – the battle to restore the future of the children of Uganda. Armed with only a sewing machine, Sister Rosemary, a Catholic nun of The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, openly defied the rebels in their 20-year reign of terror. Since 2002, she has enrolled more than 3000 girls who had been abducted and abandoned by their families, into her “Saint Monica’s Girls Tailoring Center” in Gulu, Uganda. She has made it her mission to provide a home and school for women and girls whose lives have been shattered by violence, rape and sexual exploitation. She has given them ways to support themselves through job training in tailoring, catering and other practical skills to restore dignity, independence and hope. Anyone who sets foot on the campus will instantly recognize that there are few other places where a community of women learns to become self-reliant and change agents for peace and prosperity, while also showing mercy to those who are less fortunate.
Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker, who has narrated a documentary film, Sewing Hope, about Sister Rosemary says, “The girls can become themselves again, thanks to the security and comfort they feel– a tremendous accomplishment in a country still fragile from years of civil war. For girls who were forcibly enlisted as child soldiers, Sister Rosemary has the power to rekindle a bright light in eyes long gone blank. For women with unwanted children born out of conflict, she allows them to become loving mothers at last. The traumas she heals are unfathomable, but the reach of her love is boundless.” The film can be seen online, and the book can be purchased through SewingHopeFoundation.com.