Beatrice Lanyero, a mother of three and her husband Alfred Opio are beneficiaries of the role model men initiative, a program started by GWED-G where men trained in the ‘journey of transformation’ and demonstrate exemplary behaviour in the community support families affected by violence through mediation and counselling. Beatrice is one of the many women in Gulu who have been supported to overcome Gender Based Violence; she shares her story of despair, hope and transformation.
“My husband and I work hard in the garden and often harvest a sizeable yield; however, he used to take all the money we got from our harvest to the bar for alcohol irrespective of our home needs. He would not even buy food at home or clothes for the children. Our children were out of school because we could not afford to pay school fees. When I would ask him for some money from the harvest to use at home he would become very violent and beat me up. I was always fearful and unhappy.
One time we had planted a big garden of sesame and ground nuts and we had a good yield but he sold everything and I did not see where the money went. When I confronted him and asked him how we are going to raise our children he just shouted hurtful insults at me and beat me up. I decided to go and work in other people’s gardens where I earned some little money to cater for the family.
It was such a hard time for me and my children until one day Richard Lakwor (role model man) came to our home after hearing about the problems we had. He told me about what he does and how GWED-G had trained him to help people like us in the community. We managed to convince my husband to sit and listen to Richard. He counselled us about the dangers of violence and how it is affecting our children and our lives. He took us through the importance of working as partners in everything we do and that violence will never be the solution to any problem. I am now realising great improvement in my home and my relationship with my husband. For example we sold our most recent harvest together and we were able to pay our children’s school fees, acquire some home needs and even had a balance of UGX 200,000. We have agreed to put some of this money in our village saving group and also use some to clear our land for the next planting season.
“I was a drunkard and after talking to Richard he made me realise that this was not taking me anywhere and I would not develop…” Said Opio during the interview
I have so much peace right now and I feel I am a better woman. The baby am carrying is coming in a peaceful home and has a bright future like the rest of my children. The work of people like Richard should continue to more homes struggling with violence so that people can live in peace and develop together. These men should be trained even more and supported to reach more people especially the men in our villages who are driven by alcohol which often leads to violence in their homes.”