The story of Hawa: resilience and strength

23 February 2023|Paula Casado Aguirregabiria

Hawa, as many other women who run away from war and conflict, is a survivor of gender-based violence (GBV). 
After the Congolese military killed her husband in front of her and then assaulted her, she decided to run away from her country of origin, Congo, and looked for shelter in Uganda.  

When she arrived in Uganda with her two children, she was suffering from a serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In distress, she even considered suicide.  

Luckily, a bit of light came to her life when she met her second husband, also Congolese, in Kampala. They had three more children together until, in 2021 as a result of COVID, her second husband passed away.

If it had not been for the counseling… All these bad things that happened to me? I would not have been able to overcome them.
Hawa Kikuni

Hawa met JRS through the emergency support team in 2018. They started prescribing her tension medicines, when JRS case workers learned of her status of stress and depression. After all she had gone through in Congo, and despite the mild recovery in her mental status in her years in Kampala, it was clear that those episodes had printed a mark on her soul.  

It was then, that the JRS emergency support team referred her to the counseling programmes we offer in the Ugandan capital.
Starting with group counseling sessions, and later receiving also individual counseling, Hawa is now a new woman. 

Before, I though my problem was only mine. But then, when I started group counseling, I saw there where other women like me. I told myself ‘I am not the only one’…
Hawa Kikuni

Her presence in the office, when she is around, cannot be ignored. Her smile and happiness shine all over the place. Hawa is a unique woman. 

After counseling, I felt I was a different person”, says Hawa.

Not only has she been able to lift herself up thanks to the counseling sessions received in JRS, but she has been able to accompany other women in distress who had been through similar situations to hers.  

She dreams to be able to leave Uganda and find a safe life in a completely new atmosphere. 

In the meantime, JRS will keep walking with her, as we have been doing with many others, to help them recover hope and joy, in Kampala and many other locations in the world.