Milly Auma

Ashoka Fellow
Gulu, Uganda
Fellow Since 2008


This profile was prepared when Milly Auma was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Milly is mending broken relationships between formerly abducted women in Uganda and their home communities. She has built the first corps of women returnees dedicated to creating peace between former abductees, their children, and the communities displaced by the war that now live in internally displaced people’s (IDP) camps.

Through guidance and counseling programs, Milly uses her personal experience to provide psychosocial support and to build an environment of understanding and acceptance of returnees. By staging plays with themes developed around their experiences in the bush as prisoners of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Milly, along with other returnees, generates empathy for what these young women have lived through and breaks down strong barriers of mistrust and hatred.

Through her organization Empowering Hands, Milly has also established an economic development program that supports formerly abducted women and other IDPs alike. Milly and her colleagues have currently replicated their model in five camps in Gulu and Amuru Districts in northern Uganda and are serving over 1,200 people. As the war ends and more women return from captivity, Milly plans to spread her work throughout the region’s 500 IDP camps.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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