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Women and elderly at a disadvantage in land grab

By June 2, 2010

Uganda (MNN) — Initially forced into Internally Displaced People camps when civil war erupted, Ugandans are now being forced to leave those camps and resettle.

"Since the war is technically over, the government says, they want people to move back to their land and into their own villages," said Christine Silwinski of Every Child Ministries.

The only issue is: many of them do not have land to go back to.

Over the years of unrest, geography changed and boundary markers faded, making it difficult for those who did have land to find it. Greed has cropped up, as well, and conflict could ensue if several people lay claim to the same land.

Apart from this, women have even more of a disadvantage. Silwinski said, "A big problem is that the women do not have land rights. A lot of single women and elderly had many issues in going ahead and going back to their home."

That is where ECM stepped in. For the past year, they have come alongside widows, single women and the elderly, helping them find land and rebuild homes. For many of these individuals, if ECM did not help them, they would be left on the streets with no way to provide for themselves or their children.

Silwinski said their work in the Ugandan communities is more than just a program. "We definitely build relationships with them, and we invest our lives into them. We don't just go in and do a program."

An integral part of investing in the lives of people is sharing Christ with them. Taking each opportunity as it presents itself, ECM prays that the Holy Spirit will do a work in each person's life. And He has: "We are just throwing the seed, and where it lands is where it lands. But people are very prepared for the Gospel; they are hungry for it," Silwinski said.

Would you like to join with ECM in the work in Uganda? Visit their Web site to get involved financially, in prayer or in other ways. For just $20, you can help supply bricks for building walls and help rebuild villages.

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